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09/01/09 9:57 PM ET

A-Rod gives anti-PED talk to students

Baltimore program is part of initiative led by congressman

Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who before the season admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs in the past, gave an anti-steroid speech to 500 students at a Baltimore school on Tuesday.

Rodriguez delivered the message to a group of student-athletes at Milford Mill Academy in conjunction with St. Joseph Medical Center's Powered by Me! program, an anti-steroid initiative established by Maryland congressman Elijah Cummings and state schools chief Dr. Nancy Grasmick.

Rodriguez, who admitted in February to using performance-enhancing drugs from 2001-03 as a member of the Texas Rangers, recounted his steroid use and told the students to avoid using similar drugs.

"I am here today simply because I made a mistake," Rodriguez said, according to the Baltimore Sun. "Now, how many of you here have made a mistake? Well, I'm here because I made a mistake, and one of my missions in life is to turn a negative into a positive. And to actually tell the truth, it feels pretty darn good and liberating. It is very important to me professionally and spiritually. At the end of the day when we look into the mirror, we learn from our mistakes, it's something we should feel proud of and become a better version of ourselves."

According to a press release, it was Rodriguez who reached out to Cummings to join the anti-steroid program. Cummings held the congressional panel hearings about steroids in sports in March 2005 that included Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Sammy Sosa, Jose Canseco and Curt Schilling.

"I am extremely pleased that Alex Rodriguez reached out to me to join the Powered by Me! team to spread the word to our student-athletes about the dangers of steroid use." Cummings said in a statement. "With his high-profile support, we will continue to make a strong impact on our young people on how to play safe, fair and healthy."

Rodriguez's speech was not attended by members of the media at Rodriguez's request.

The 12-time All-Star is in Baltimore as the Yankees are playing a three-game series at Camden Yards through Wednesday. He entered Tuesday's game batting .270 with 23 home runs and 70 RBIs in 97 games this season.

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.