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CANSECO AFFIDAVIT SUPPORTS CLEMENS

Former slugger Jose Canseco told Congress in a sworn affidavit that he has never seen Roger Clemens "use, possess or ask for steroids or human growth hormone."

The affidavit, dated Jan.22, was obtained by the Associated Press on Tuesday. It is part of the evidence gathered by the congressional committee looking at drugs in baseball.

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform's hearing today will focus on Clemens' denials of his former personal trainer's allegations in the Mitchell report. The trainer, Brian McNamee, told federal prosecutors and then-baseball investigator George Mitchell that he injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone at least 16 times in 1998, 2000 and 2001.

"I have never had a conversation with Clemens in which he expressed any interest in using steroids or human growth hormone," Canseco said in the affidavit. "Clemens has never asked me to give him steroids or human growth hormone, and I have never seen Clemens use, possess or ask for steroids or human growth hormone."

Canseco continued: "I have played on three teams with Roger Clemens and I have no reason to believe that he has ever used steroids, human growth hormone, or any other performance-enhancing drugs."

According to McNamee, Clemens raised the subject of steroids not long after McNamee saw Canseco and Clemens at a June 1998 party. At the time, Canseco and Clemens were Blue Jays teammates, and McNamee was working for the team. Canseco says in his affidavit Clemens was not at that party.

Also Tuesday, the House committee held a hearing on the "Myths and Facts about Human Growth Hormone, B-12, and Other Substances."

The consensus from the four doctors who testified: Neither HGH nor vitamin B-12 appears to help performance much.

"There is no credible scientific evidence that growth hormone substantively increases muscle strength or aerobic exercise capacity in normal individuals," said Dr. Thomas Perls, director of the New England Centenarian Study at the Boston University of Medicine.

Also, Clemens' defamation lawsuit against McNamee was moved to federal court.

LIVAN JOINS TWINS: Right-hander Livan Hernandez, 33, agreed to a $5-million, one-year contract with Minnesota that could earn him $2-million in performance bonuses, replacing Johan Santana and joining a staff whose other four starters range in age from 23 to 26.

STRAWBERRY CASE: Former slugger Darryl Strawberry will pay the IRS more than $430,000 in back taxes, penalties and interest. Strawberry was convicted of tax evasion in 1995 over income from autographs and memorabilia.

METS: The huge Fiberglas apple that pops up when New York players hit home runs will follow the team to its new ballpark when it opens next year.

RANGERS: Free-agent outfielder Kevin Mench signed a minor-league contract.

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