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CLEMENS' EX-TRAINER SAYS HE KEPT SYRINGES

Brian McNamee's lawyers said Wednesday that they gave federal prosecutors physical evidence backing the personal trainer's allegation that Roger Clemens used performance-enhancing drugs.

"I think this is a significant point in the case. We believe that this is significant corroboration," said McNamee's lead attorney, Earl Ward.

McNamee's side turned over syringes with Clemens' blood to IRS Special Agent Jeff Novitzky in early January, the Associated Press reported. McNamee claimed the syringes were used to inject Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone in 2000 and 2001.

It was unclear why McNamee held onto the syringes so long, or why he didn't turn them over to former Senate majority leader George Mitchell's investigators when he was given federal immunity to provide all the evidence he had about drug use in baseball.

Lanny Breuer, one of Clemens' attorneys, immediately responded that McNamee "apparently has manufactured evidence" and called all the allegations "desperate smears."

"It is just not credible," Breuer said in a statement. "Who in their right mind does such a thing?"

In December's Mitchell report on doping in baseball, McNamee said he injected Clemens with performance-enhancing drugs in 1998, 2000 and 2001.

Clemens, 45, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, gave a five-hour sworn deposition Tuesday to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and said afterward that he again denied using performance-enhancing drugs. McNamee is to give a deposition to the same committee today ahead of a public hearing Wednesday.

SANTANA ARRIVES: Johan Santana arrived at Shea Stadium, put on his No.57 Mets jersey for the first time and said he anticipated little difficulty in adjusting to pitching before some of baseball's most demanding fans.

"I think the game is the same," he said. "I'm not going to let that affect what I do on the field."

The Mets introduced Santana with a choreographed news conference. The left-hander said he understands that fans demand a lot after last year's September collapse. "Of course, it has to be this year and beyond," he said.

TINO STARTS NEW GIG: Former Yankee first baseman Tino Martinez, a Tampa native who also played for the Rays for a season, joined New York at its minor-league complex in Tampa, working one-on-one with first baseman Shelley Duncan. "It's awesome," Martinez, 40, said. "I really enjoy this, the opportunity to come out and coach and help these guys get better, especially the young guys."

RYAN JOINS RANGERS: Nolan Ryan was hired as president of the Rangers, reuniting the Hall of Fame pitcher and Texas native with the struggling team he pitched for at the end of his career.

DEAL DRAGGING: Orioles left-hander Erik Bedard remained at his Ontario, Canada, home, according to the Baltimore Sun, a sign that a reported trade to the Mariners had not been completed. For weeks, Baltimore and Seattle have been discussing a deal that would send top outfield prospect Adam Jones, reliever George Sherrill and three minor-leaguers to the Orioles.

D'BACKS: Right-hander Brandon Lyon was picked to replace the traded Jose Valverde as closer.

INDIANS: Right-handed reliever Brendan Donnelly, alleged in the Mitchell report to have purchased steroids, agreed to a minor-league deal and was invited to spring training.

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