Published January 30, 2008
WASHINGTON – So far, Roger Clemens and his former personal trainer Brian McNamee have engaged in a he-said, he-said, with no third party providing evidence to back either account.
A lawyer for McNamee believes that could change next week, when New York Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte — Clemens' former teammate and workout partner — speaks to a House committee.
The lawyer, Earl Ward, said Tuesday night he thinks Pettitte will tell Congress he discussed human growth hormone with Clemens between the 2001 and 2002 seasons.
Ward said Pettitte talked about human growth hormone with McNamee following a conversation with Clemens, who has denied McNamee's allegations he injected the seven-time Cy Young Award winner with HGH and steroids. McNamee worked with both Clemens and Pettitte.
"We're hopeful based on Andy's reputation that he will corroborate Brian's statements with regard to Roger," Ward said in a telephone interview.
Clemens, McNamee and Pettitte are among five witnesses the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee invited to testify Feb. 13. The witnesses also were asked to submit to a deposition or transcribed interview before that hearing.
Pettitte's meeting with committee staff was postponed until Monday. He originally was slated to appear for a deposition or transcribed interview Wednesday, but the committee changed the date Tuesday.
McNamee said in last month's Mitchell Report on drug use in baseball that he injected Clemens at least 16 times with steroids or HGH in 1998, 2000 and 2001. Clemens' attorney Lanny Breuer said Tuesday the eighth-winningest pitcher in major league history stood by his previous denials.
"Roger Clemens' remarkable success as a pitcher has everything to do with his extraordinary work ethic and his innate abilities, and nothing to do with HGH or steroids," Breuer said in a statement. "Let me be clear: Roger Clemens never took HGH and he never took steroids."
McNamee also told former Senate majority leader George Mitchell he injected Pettitte two to four times with HGH. Pettitte acknowledged two days after Mitchell's findings were released that he took HGH for two days in 2002, before it was banned by the sport.
Ward said the discussion he was referring to occurred at Clemens' house.
"Based on what we know, there was a situation where Andy was speaking to Roger in Brian's presence, then Andy came over to Brian and essentially said, 'Why didn't you tell me about this stuff?' He referred to HGH," Ward said. "Brian discouraged him and then several months later, when he (Pettitte) got injured, he came back and asked Brian about it, and that's when Brian injected him. We believe that based on the fact that Andy came to Brian and asked him about HGH, it was Roger who told Andy about HGH and that's why he asked Brian about it."
Richard Emery, another lawyer for McNamee, said his client and Pettitte also discussed steroids use by Clemens.
"Pettitte is certainly going to tell the truth, and if he tells the truth, everything will be fine," Emery said.
"There are a number of conversations where Pettitte and Brian talked about Clemens' use. I think there is everything to believe Pettitte is not a liar."
Jay Reisinger, Pettitte's lawyer, would not discuss what Pettitte will tell Congress.
"He hasn't testified yet, and I'm not going to comment on what he's going to testify about," Reisinger said.
Ward's claims about the discussion were first reported by The New York Times on its Web site.
The delay of Pettitte's deposition or transcribed interview was the latest switch in the schedule of meetings between witnesses and staff before the Feb. 13 hearing.
"Just a mutually agreeable postponement," said Keith Ausbrook, Republican general counsel for the committee. "It give us a little more time to prepare and gives him a little more time to prepare."
Also asked to appear at next month's hearing are former Yankees second baseman Chuck Knoblauch and former New York Mets clubhouse employee Kirk Radomski.
"Mr. Pettitte is cooperating voluntarily with the committee, and we look forward to his testimony on Monday," chairman Henry Waxman and ranking Republican Tom Davis said in a joint statement. "We appreciate Mr. Pettitte's willingness to assist the committee."
Knoblauch is scheduled to appear Friday and would be the first of the five witnesses to provide a deposition or transcribed interview. He agreed to appear after a subpoena was issued. Clemens is to follow Feb. 5, with McNamee on Feb. 7, and Radomski on Feb. 12.
The 35-year-old Pettitte has a 201-113 major league record and won four World Series championships with the Yankees. He also helped his hometown Houston Astros reach their first World Series.
Pettitte returned to the Yankees last season and went 15-9. This offseason, he put off retirement and agreed to a $16 million, one-year contract to play for the Yankees next season.