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Clemens mum on letter to Justice

KISSIMMEE — Roger Clemens declined to say whether he was aware that Congress had asked the Justice Department to investigate whether he lied in sworn testimony about steroid use.

A letter drafted by House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Henry Waxman and ranking Republican Tom Davis was sent to Attorney General Michael Mukasey on Wednesday. They asked the Justice Department to look into Clemens' statements in a sworn deposition and at a public hearing that he "never used anabolic steroids or human growth hormone."

Clemens was working with minor-leaguers at the Astros' spring camp when the congressional request became official.

When he was finished, the seven-time Cy Young Award winner emerged from an indoor batting cage to a large group of autograph seekers, reporters and photographers. He was asked several times if he was aware of the request and never answered.

"Guys, the big team is up that way," Clemens said, referring to the Astros, whose clubhouse is about 200 yards from the minor-league complex.

Later in the afternoon, a clubhouse assistant backed Clemens' black Hummer up to a service entrance to the building, which helped the pitcher keep away from about two dozen reporters and photographers who tracked him all day.

Clemens came out just after 2 p.m., and asked about the congressional request one more time, he responded, "See y'all tomorrow," hopped into the Hummer and drove away.

The congressmen wrote in a letter that Clemens' testimony directly contradicted that of Brian McNamee, his former personal trainer, who said he injected Clemens with anabolic steroids and HGH.

Meanwhile, the New York Post reported that McNamee was close to becoming a member of the Mets' coaching staff last season.

Manager Willie Randolph and former hitting coach Rick Down both supported hiring McNamee, whom they knew from their time with the Yankees as a batting practice pitcher, the Post reported.

General manager Omar Minaya turned down their recommendation after gauging McNamee's reputation within baseball and deciding that McNamee did not fit the role.

SPIEZIO released: Utilityman Scott Spiezio was cut by the Cardinals after being charged in a six-count complaint involving drunken driving and assault in a December car crash.

"We had heard some things about this," general manager John Mozeliak said. "Ultimately nothing was ever confirmed to the level it was (Wednesday). To have this warrant put out there, it completely changes the landscape of what we're dealing with."

A warrant was issued Tuesday in Irvine, Calif., for Spiezio, who missed more than a month last year while getting treatment for substance abuse. The warrant was recalled after Spiezio's attorney appeared in court, and the arraignment was continued to March 26.

WADA CHASTISES BASEBALL: Major League Baseball must farm out its drug-testing program to an independent agency if it wants to regain credibility, the head of the World Anti-Doping Agency said.

"The message to the average person is very clear: How can you trust in-house (testing)?" WADA president John Fahey said at a symposium at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig says the sport doesn't need to get a third party involved. Baseball uses a WADA-certified Montreal lab to conduct testing and a contractor to collect samples, as WADA does for out-of-competition testing.

LIRIANO RETURNS: Twins left-hander Francisco Liriano is in camp 16 months after Tommy John surgery, hoping to regain the nastiness that made him an All-Star in 2006 before arm problems derailed a rookie season in which he went 12-3 with a 2.16 ERA and 144 strikeouts in 121 innings. "I feel good," Liriano said after a 10-minute bullpen session.

BREWERS: Outfielder Tony Gwynn was hit in the nose by a ball while trying to steal second during an intrasquad game. He stayed in the game.

CUBS: Second baseman Mark DeRosa is scheduled for a heart procedure in Chicago today to correct an irregular heartbeat. Team doctor Stephen Adams said DeRosa is expected to return to Arizona on Sunday and be ready to play in spring games by March 8.

DODGERS: Right-hander Chad Billingsley was scratched from today's spring opener against Atlanta because of tightness in his right groin. He'll be replaced by nonroster invitee Jason Johnson, a former Ray.

INDIANS: Right-hander Jake Westbrook was scratched from his scheduled start in today's spring opener against the Astros with soreness in his pitching arm. He doesn't expect the soreness to last, saying he has had similar discomfort in past training camps.

ROCKIES: Neifi Perez's homecoming isn't going to happen. Perez had agreed to a minor-league contract Tuesday, a goodwill gesture for one of the most popular players in club history. But the team had second thoughts and decided against bringing him back. Perez has 18 games left on an 80-game suspension he received last season after testing positive for stimulants for a third time.

OBITUARY: Former Reds scout and farm director Sheldon "Chief" Bender, who spent 64 years in professional baseball, died in Hamilton, Ohio, from complications of a recent fall at his home. He was 88.


Blue Jays: at Tigers, 1:05 p.m., Joker Marchant Stadium, Lakeland. Game tickets: (727) 733-9302; Knology Park (373 Douglas Ave., Dunedin) 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday; or

Phillies: vs. Pirates, 1:05 p.m, Bright House Networks Field, 601 N Old Coachman Road, Clearwater. Game tickets: (727) 467-4457; Bright House Networks Field 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Saturday; or

Yankees: Workouts at Legends Field (1 Steinbrenner Drive in Tampa). Game tickets: (813) 879-2244; Legends Field 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday; or

Clemens mum on letter to Justice 02/28/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 9:01am]
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