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Clemens: Friend Andy Pettitte ‘misheard’ steroid talk

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Roger Clemens, pro baseball’s embattled ace pitcher, told a House panel Wednesday that his close friend Andy Pettitte misheard a conversation in which Pettitte claims Clemens admitted using performance-enhancing substances.

According to an affidavit released by the panel Wednesday, pitcher Pettitte said that in 1999 or 2000 Clemens told me he had taken HGH, according to committee Chairman Rep. Henry Waxman, referring to human growth hormone.

Saying Pettitte was and will remain a close friend, Clemens told the panel that he believed Pettitte made a mistake.

I believe Andy has misheard, Mr. Congressman, on his comment about myself using HGH, which never happened, Clemens said.

The hearing before the panel examining performance-enhancing drug use in America’s pastime is being shown live in its entirety on CNN.com.

A clearly miffed Clemens opened Wednesday’s testimony by saying he resented the accusations that have forever tainted his legacy, which includes a record seven Cy Young Awards.

No matter what we discuss here today, I am never going to have my name restored, but I’ve got to try and set the record straight, Clemens said with his chief accuser sitting at the same table.

Brian McNamee, the former trainer who says he injected Clemens with performance enhancers, and Charlie Scheeler, an investigator for ex-Sen. George Mitchell’s scathing report that alleged dozens of ballplayers had used the juice, are set to testify Wednesday as well. Watch McNamee apologize for tainting our national pastime

McNamee flatly challenged Clemens’ remarks, reading from a prepared opening statement to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

I injected those drugs into the body of Roger Clemens at his direction. Unfortunately, Roger has denied this and has led a full-court attack on my credibility, McNamee said.

McNamee also defended his own credibility and told the panel that he was promised no special treatment for fingering star players.

I have no reason to lie, and every reason not to. If I do lie I will be prosecuted, he said. All that I was ever told was to tell the truth to the best of my ability, and that is what I have done. I told the investigators that I injected three people, two of whom, I believe, confirm my account. The third is sitting at this table.

In a nearly direct exchange before the committee, McNamee and Clemens provided conflicting accounts on the contents of syringes that were used to inject the pitcher. Clemens told the panel that McNamee injected him with vitamin B-12 on three occasions, but never with steroids or other illegal substances. Watch Clemens explain how he treated McNamee

I’ve never given Roger B-12, McNamee said.

McNamee said he believes he stopped giving baseball players performance-enhancing substances in 2002. He called steroid usage pretty prevalent among players at that time.

Grilled on why he provided players with such substances, McNamee replied, I just accepted it as the norm, and it was part of the culture in baseball.

According to the Mitchell report, McNamee told investigators that he injected Clemens on 16 occasions with steroids, testosterone or human growth hormone.

Missing from Wednesday’s hearing was Pettitte, who was also named in the Mitchell report. Pettitte has acknowledged using human growth hormone to help him recover from an injury in 2002.

The House panel revealed Wednesday that Pettitte admitted using it again in 2004 shortly before having season-ending elbow surgery.

Pettitte initially withheld details of the second incident because he got the HGH from his father, who had obtained it in an effort to overcome health problems, Pettitte’s attorneys said. Pettitte sought to shield him from publicity, read a statement from Pettitte’s attorneys.

Pettitte, who has played with Clemens on the Yankees or Houston Astros since 1999, was excused by the committee Tuesday, along with former Yankee Chuck Knoblauch. McNamee told the panel he injected both men with performance-enhancing substances. See the key players in the case

Mr. Knoblauch and Mr. Pettitte have answered all the committee’s questions and their testimony at the hearing is not needed, read a statement from the panel. It added that Clemens and McNamee have cooperated with the investigation.

Waxman said before Wednesday’s testimony that Pettitte’s and Knoblauch’s testimony backed up McNamee’s account. Read Sports Illustrated analysis of the latest developments

Clemens’ attorneys have steadfastly denied that their client used performance-enhancing substances.

Clemens was careful in his remarks to attack McNamee’s credibility, rather than the integrity of the Mitchell report.

Clemens said, If I am guilty of anything, it is of being too trusting of everyone, wanting to see the best in everyone and being too nice to everyone.

Clemens’ legal team has filed a defamation suit against McNamee, saying the former trainer’s allegations fueled rampant speculation and irreparably tainted the reputation of one of baseball’s hardest working and most talented pitchers.

McNamee’s attorneys last week, however, showed reporters photos of needles and gauze that McNamee said were used to inject Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone. They said they turned the items over to federal investigators in January.

McNamee, a former New York City police officer, kept the materials because he was nervous that Clemens’ drug use would become public and that Clemens would turn against him, said Richard Emery, who is representing the former trainer.

Rusty Hardin, Clemens’ lawyer, dismissed the purported evidence as the desperate Hail Mary of a man who wants to ruin Roger. Hardin would not indicate whether Clemens would voluntarily provide a DNA sample to compare with the DNA on the needles and gauze, but said, Any time any legitimate law enforcement agency asks a reasonable inquiry of us, we’ll be glad to respond.

Waxman said Wednesday that McNamee has acknowledged that he was not completely forthcoming with investigators in his past remarks regarding Clemens. McNamee told the panel he withheld certain information about Clemens because he was trying not to hurt the guy, Waxman said.

The chairman also said that Clemens’ past remarks included conflicts and inconsistencies on whether he had discussions about human growth hormone with McNamee.

Clemens met individually Thursday with House lawmakers, including Waxman.

Wednesday’s hearing comes a day after the House committee took testimony from four doctors who testified on the myths and facts about performance-enhancing substances such as human growth hormone, B-12 and other substances.
Clemens: Friend Andy Pettitte ‘misheard’ steroid talk – found here.


February 13, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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