Monday, February 4, 2008

Andy Pettitte Tries His Luck On Capitol Hill

New York Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte talked for about 2½ hours Monday with lawyers from a congressional committee looking into drug use in baseball. Wearing a pinstriped gray suit and bright striped tie, Pettitte was accompanied by his wife and at least one lawyer.

His interview is part of preparation for a Feb. 13 public hearing expected to focus on Roger Clemens' denials of allegations about his use of performance enhancers made in the Mitchell report by former personal trainer Brian McNamee.

Clemens's lawyer told The New York Times that they expected Pettitte's statements would help, not hurt, his former teammate.

"We have nothing to fear about what Andy may testify to," Rusty Hardin, Clemens's lawyer in Houston, told the newspaper. "Everyone says Andy is honest; we have no reason to believe he will lie." Hardin added that when Clemens speaks to congressional investigators, he would strongly deny McNamee's claims that he injected the pitcher with steroids or HGH. "Let me be clear to all the doubters out there: Roger is not going to change his mind about testifying," Hardin told the newspaper. "He is not going to take the Fifth Amendment. There are no bombshells coming from our end. He is going to go in there and answer their questions truthfully under oath."

Pettitte lent credence to former Senate majority leader George Mitchell's findings by acknowledging he received two injections of human growth hormone from McNamee.

A former Yankees teammate of Pettitte and Clemens, Chuck Knoblauch, spoke to committee staff Friday. The day before, an employee of the sports agency that represents Clemens and Pettitte went to Capitol Hill to be interviewed.

McNamee said he injected Clemens with HGH and steroids in 1998, 2000 and 2001. The seven-time Cy Young Award winner has denied the allegations repeatedly and in various settings -- but not under oath.

McNamee also told Mitchell he injected Pettitte two to four times with HGH -- and two days after the report was released in December, Pettitte said he took HGH for two days to deal with an elbow injury in 2002.

The 35-year-old Pettitte, who won four World Series championships with the Yankees, returned to the team last season and went 15-9. This offseason, he put off retirement and agreed to a $16 million, one-year contract to play for the Yankees next season.

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