WASHINGTON — The FBI took up the Roger Clemens case Thursday, told by the Justice Department to investigate whether the star pitcher lied when he testified to Congress that he never took performance-enhancing drugs.
The FBI's involvement was announced one day after the leaders of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee told Attorney General Michael Mukasey they weren't sure whether Clemens told the truth under oath at a Feb. 5 deposition and Feb. 13 public hearing.
A probe could result in charges for perjury, making false statements or obstruction of justice. Congress did not ask for a similar investigation of Brian McNamee, the former personal trainer who testified under oath that he injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone.
"We've always expected they would open an investigation," said Clemens' lead lawyer, Rusty Hardin. "They attended the congressional hearing. So what's new?"
Clemens didn't answer questions directly Thursday at Astros camp in Kissimmee, where he's throwing batting practice to minor-leaguers.
"I'm going to handle it the right way," Clemens said. "You guys are wasting your time.''
Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte, who has testified that Clemens admitted HGH use to him nearly a decade ago, acknowledged he's prepared to be interviewed again.
"It makes it extremely difficult," Pettitte said at Yankees camp in Tampa. "I don't like any of this. I cannot stand it. It's like a part of my family that's going to have to go through this."
Also, Astros owner Drayton McLane said he might re-evaluate Clemens' 10-year personal service contract with the team, which kicks in when he officially retires.
TORRE WINS DEBUT: The Dodgers made Joe Torre's debut as their manager a success, scoring three in the ninth to beat the Braves 5-4. "For coming out of the box, I thought it was a good game for us," Torre said. "It was fun. This was the first time in 13 years I've had a different uniform on." Torre said he got over leaving the Yankees during the offseason. "I'm involved here, I'm buried here as far as I'm concerned, doing things," he said. "It's baseball. The Yankee uniform was special. To be there for 12 years was certainly a great chapter in my life.''
ASTROS: Cecil Cooper had a frustrating managerial debut, a loss to the Indians in which Houston issued 10 walks. "I'm not a happy camper," Cooper said. "We had a couple situations where we walked two guys in a row. That shouldn't happen. These guys are major leaguers."
Blue Jays: Starter Jesse Litsch of Pinellas Park, a candidate for the fifth spot in the rotation, struggled at times against the Tigers, allowing four hits and four earned runs in two innings. "For his first time out, he was so-so," manager John Gibbons said. "He can't walk guys and the Tigers have a tough lineup." … Closer B.J. Ryan faced hitters for the first time since an elbow injury ended his season in April. Ryan, who spent the year recovering from ligament replacement surgery, threw 21 pitches and reported no problems.
BRAVES: Tim Hudson allowed four hits and one run in two innings against the Dodgers. "That was good work for me," he said. "I was in some stressful situations. I'm going to have those type of situations during the year. It's better to have them in the spring when it doesn't count."
BREWERS: Ryan Braun crushed a tape-measure home run in his first at-bat against the Athletics, the ball landing in a camera high above the wall in center. "If I took batting practice all day, I probably couldn't do that again," Braun said.
CARDINALS: Juan Gonzalez, trying to make the roster as a reserve, had two hits and an RBI against the Mets. Gonzalez, 38, a two-time American League MVP, sat out the past two years after tearing a hamstring in 2005 in his only at-bat with Cleveland.
CUBS: Japanese newcomer Kosuke Fukudome debuted, getting hit on the first pitch he saw. He also walked and had an RBI single against the Giants. Asked if American baseball is easy, the rightfielder shook his head for emphasis as he answered: "No!" … Second baseman Mark DeRosa had what the club deemed a successful procedure in Chicago to correct an irregular heartbeat. He is expected back at spring training by Sunday and is scheduled to resume baseball activity early next week, the team said.
INDIANS: First baseman Michael Aubrey, a former first-round pick who has battled injuries, had two hits and an RBI against the Astros. "It's never been a matter of his ability to hit or play defense," manager Eric Wedge said. "It's just a matter of him catching a break and staying healthy."
MARINERS: R.A. Dickey, who hasn't pitched in the majors in 23 months, relieved against the Padres with the bases loaded. He throws a knuckleball and the team is concerned whether a catcher can handle Dickey's pitches with runners on. Jamie Burke, the team's No. 2 catcher and only one with experience catching a knuckler, did fine. His replacement in the sixth, Rob Johnson, fumbled many.
METS: Johan Santana is scheduled to make his Grapefruit League debut today against the Cardinals. The left-hander said he was excited, and will focus on fine-tuning mechanics. "It will be fun for everybody," he said. "I'm just going to concentrate on what I'm doing on the mound. That's what I'm supposed to do."
PADRES: Closer Trevor Hoffman pitched a perfect inning against the Mariners, with sharp breaking pitches and changeups. It was his first appearance since arthroscopic surgery in October to clean out his right elbow and shave a bone spur.
PHILLIES: Ryan Howard hit his first home run, but Adam LaRoche's shot off Kyle Kendrick helped the Pirates beat the Phillies 11-6. Philadelphia rookie left-handers Joe Savery and Josh Outman combined to allow nine earned runs in 22/3 innings. Savery, the Phillies' top pick in the amateur draft, squandered a 5-1 lead in the fourth when Josh Wilson hit a two-run single and Nate McLouth followed with a three-run homer. Outman allowed four runs and five hits in 12/3 innings, with strikeouts.
PIRATES: Phil Dumatrait, forced to start when Tom Gorzelanny was scratched with left shoulder tightness, had two scoreless innings against the Phillies.
TIGERS: Virgil Vasquez pitched two hitless innings against the Blue Jays, filling in nicely for Nate Robertson. The left-hander was scratched from his scheduled start after his wife gave birth to a boy early Thursday morning. "I hope Nate had a wonderful baby, but I was grateful for the opportunity," Vasquez said.
WHITE SOX: Alexei Ramirez, who defected from Cuba in September and is competing to start at shortstop, went 4-for-5 with three runs scored against a Rockies split squad.
Yankees: Closer Mariano Rivera is scheduled to throw off a bullpen mound today and is not expected to make his first spring training appearance until next Wednesday .The 38-year-old has taken a slow approach in preparing the past few years. He will throw around nine or 10 innings before breaking camp.
Best bet of the day
USF at N.Y. Yankees, 1:15 at Legends Field: The Bulls face many of the Bronx Bombers' big guns, including Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Bobby Abreu, Johnny Damon and Jason Giambi. The Yankees are throwing three of their top young arms in starter Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy. Adding intrigue are the teams' connections, with former Yankee Tino Martinez, now a USF volunteer assistant, saying he'll wear Yankee pinstripes.