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PUBLIC HEARING DOWN TO CLEMENS VS. TRAINER

Roger Clemens and his accuser, Brian McNamee, will be the main witnesses at a House hearing on the Mitchell report after Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte and two others were dropped Monday.

Former Clemens teammate Chuck Knoblauch and convicted steroids dealer Kirk Radomski also were taken off the witness list for Wednesday's public session. One witness was added, a lawyer who worked with former Senate majority leader George Mitchell to produce December's report on drugs in baseball.

But all attention will be focused on Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, and McNamee, his former personal trainer, who alleged he injected the pitcher with performance-enhancing drugs.

"I guess it's showtime, isn't it?" Clemens' lead attorney, Rusty Hardin, said.

Earl Ward, McNamee's lead attorney, declined to comment.

McNamee said he injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone at least 16 times in 1998, 2000 and 2001. Clemens' denials of those allegations drew the attention of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Pettitte, who acknowledged using HGH in 2002 to deal with an elbow injury, asked not to testify publicly against Clemens, his ex-teammate and friend, the New York Times reported.

BIGGIO STAYS PUT: Craig Biggio agreed to a three-year personal services contract with the Astros, similar to deals the team struck with former stars Nolan Ryan, Clemens and Jeff Bagwell.

Biggio, 42, retired last season after playing his entire 20-year career in Houston. In June, he became the 27th player to reach 3,000 hits and retired as the Astros' leader in games, at-bats, hits, doubles and total bases.

"I've already moved on to the next chapter of my life," Biggio said. "I'm excited to see how the other aspects of the game work."

ROCKER ADMITS USE: Controversial former closer John Rocker says that he flunked a drug test ordered by Major League Baseball in 2000 and that he, Alex Rodriguez and other Rangers were advised by management and union doctors after a spring training lecture on how to effectively use steroids.

"Bud Selig knew in the year 2000 John Rocker was taking the juice," the former pitcher said of the commissioner on Atlanta radio station 680-AM. "Didn't do anything about it."

According to a statement by Major League Baseball, any tests in 2000 would have been conducted by the Employee Assistance Program, where Rocker was referred to when he was suspended for insensitive remarks.

BONDS CASE: The newly installed chief federal prosecutor for Northern California can work directly on the Barry Bonds perjury prosecution and related steroids cases. U.S. Attorney Joseph Russoniello said the Justice Department had cleared him after investigating whether he had a conflict because of his work in private practice.

METS: Oft-injured right-hander Tony Armas agreed to a minor-league contract.

ORIOLES: Right-hander Steve Trachsel agreed to a minor-league contract. The former Ray, 37, brings 15 years of experience to a youthful starting rotation.

PADRES: Shortstop Khalil Greene finalized an $11-million, two-year contract, avoiding arbitration.

PIRATES: First baseman Doug Mientkiewicz, who caught the final out in 2004 that gave the Red Sox their first World Series championship in 86 years, agreed to a minor-league deal.

ROCKIES: Third baseman Garrett Atkins agreed to a one-year deal worth $4,387,500.

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