Athletics

Roger Clemens' wife is a liar too, apparently

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Roger Clemens' wife is a liar too, apparently

From Comcast SportsNet
WASHINGTON (AP) -- In their final attempt to convince jurors that Roger Clemens lied to Congress, prosecutors basically called his wife a liar, too. Prosecutor Courtney Saleski used closing arguments to challenge Debbie Clemens' version of how and when she got a shot of human growth hormone and tried to bolster government witness Andy Pettitte in the process -- just before the case went to the jury. In his closing, Clemens' lawyer Rusty Hardin characterized the case as "a horrible, horrible overreach by the government and everyone involved" and hammered away at the government's evidence. Jurors, who met for only 15 minutes Tuesday, resume deliberations Wednesday afternoon. Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winning pitcher, is charged with perjury, making false statements and obstructing Congress when he denied under oath in 2008 that he took steroids or HGH. The government's chief witness, Clemens' longtime strength coach Brian McNamee, said he injected Clemens with steroids in 1998, 2000 and 2001 and with HGH in 2000. Debbie Clemens testified last week that she received a shot of HGH from McNamee, without Roger Clemens' knowledge. McNamee had testified that Roger Clemens was present for the shot, and one of the false statements Clemens is alleged to have made is that his wife was injected without his prior knowledge or approval. Saleski called Debbie Clemens' version "not true" and argued that her account went against her basic nature. Saleski said Debbie Clemens lists three rules on her website: Plan ahead, be practical and use common sense -- so one wouldn't expect her to take the "reckless" step of taking a "risky injection of a prescription drug" on her own. "The truth is that Roger Clemens was there, as Brian McNamee told you," Saleski insisted. McNamee had testified that Debbie Clemens looked at her husband and said, "I can't believe you're going to let him do this to me," and Clemens responded: "He injects me. Why can't he inject you?" Saleski tried to connect the story to Pettitte, who testified last month that Clemens told him in 1999 or 2000 he had used HGH -- only to agree under cross-examination that there was a "5050" chance he misunderstood his former teammate. Pettitte had told congressional investigators that when he brought up Clemens' admission a few years ago, Clemens had said: "I never told you that. ... I told you that Debbie used HGH." Saleski tried to convince jurors that Roger and Debbie Clemens changed the date of her injection from 2003 to 2000 because if it happened in 2003, then Roger Clemens' explanation back in 2000 to Pettitte that he had been talking about his wife doesn't make any sense. "They have to back this date up," Saleski said. "Andy Pettitte got this right" the first time. In a 2008 deposition, Clemens said of the injection, "The year, I'm going to say 2003 possibly." Later changing the year to 2000, the prosecutor claimed, "is one of Roger Clemens' cover stories." Saleski said Clemens gambled when he told Congress he didn't take performance-enhancing drugs. "He threw sand in their eyes," she said. "He obstructed their investigation. He stole the truth from them." Saleski acknowledged that Clemens was a great pitcher with a strong work ethic and that "we know that you do not want to find Roger Clemens guilty. Nobody wants to believe he did this." But she argued the evidence shows that he lied to Congress. Jurors will have to digest a trial that includes 26 days of testimony by 46 witnesses. They were provided with a complex verdict sheet that includes 13 Clemens' statements that are alleged to have obstructed Congress. Hardin voiced outrage that the jury was being asked to make Clemens a convicted felon over some of the statements -- including whether the pitcher was at teammate Jose Canseco's house on the day of a pool party in June 1998, an event the government called a "benchmark" days before McNamee's first injection of Clemens. McNamee said he saw Clemens talking with Canseco, who jurors heard was a steroids user. "This is outrageous!" yelled Hardin, his face reddening as he pounded the podium three times. Clemens said at his deposition that he wasn't at Canseco's house on the day of the party, but evidence at the trial showed that he was. U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton has said he has some concerns as to whether the party is relevant to the case. Either way, Hardin said some of Clemens' wayward statements to Congress simply came from a man trying his best to remember and shouldn't be a reason to return a guilty verdict. "He's a Cy Young baseball player," Hardin said. "Not a Cy Young witness. ... He's a human being just like everyone else in here." "This man's reputation has been totally ruined," he added. "We've thrown this man's reputation to the dogs." After Hardin's presentation, Clemens and Hardin embraced for several seconds; Clemens patted the lawyer's back four times. Clemens' lawyer Michael Attanasio hugged Debbie Clemens a few feet away. Clemens, 49, walked down the hallway with his four sons in tow, one of the sons draping his arm around his father.

The young A's player that could be biggest beneficiary of Rajai Davis trade

The young A's player that could be biggest beneficiary of Rajai Davis trade

The A's traded veteran center fielder Rajai Davis to the Red Sox on Wednesday afternoon, clearing yet another veteran from their roster.

In return they receive 18-year-old outfielder Rafael Rincones, a Venezuela native currently playing in the Dominican Summer League.

The move doesn't come as a shock in the grand scheme of things. Davis, 36, is signed only through this season and didn't fit in the plans of Oakland's current youth movement. He did, however, have to clear waivers before this move could happen. And he joins Yonder Alonso as the second veteran the A's have shipped off after the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

The move opens up the possibility of Chad Pinder getting some playing time in center field against left-handers, as manager Bob Melvin has said he'd like to get Pinder some starts out there.

With recently promoted Boog Powell playing well in center, there's the chance he could draw some starts against lefties too, so it may not be a straight platoon. Pinder also sees playing time in right field, shortstop and second base.

Teams will continue to call about Klay Thompson and Warriors will keep laughing

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AP

Teams will continue to call about Klay Thompson and Warriors will keep laughing

There is a single reason teams keep sniffing out the availability of Klay Thompson, and it’s far more easily understood than the myriad reasons the Warriors keep telling them no.

No fewer than four teams have either reached out or considered reaching out, the latest being revealed as the detested Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Warriors, of course, declined them, perhaps after general manager Bob Myers put Cavs GM Koby Altman on speakerphone so everybody at Warriors HQ could double over with team-building laughter.

The Cavs got the same answer as was previously heard by the Pacers and the Timberwolves, and maybe even the Celtics, whose interest was rumored though never actually substantiated.

All four teams, though, along with maybe few others, all reached the same conclusion. They looked at the Warriors, studied their prime core, and concluded that Thompson was the most available member.

Clearly more available than Stephen Curry, who is the face of the franchise.

Likely more available than Draymond Green, whose two-way versatility and temperament are vital to the grand ambitions of the Warriors.

And infinitely more available than Kevin Durant, who arrived two years after Minnesota shot its shot -- by dangling Kevin Love -- and evolved into their most impressive overall player.

So it’s Thompson who gets his tires kicked. He’s 27 years old, has two years remaining on his contract and, most germane, seems to be the least emotionally invested star in the organization. That is may not be true, but it’s an easy conclusion based on appearances and the misguided thought that the Warriors don’t value him as much as they do the others.

Wrong.

“It's really cool,” Thompson said Wednesday, referring to being pursued and prized. “It shows the Warriors believe in me and these other teams want me to be a part of their success. So I appreciate it. I've been in trade rumors forever. Everyone has. Except for maybe LeBron James, Steph — well, even Steph early in his career.”

Any team that asks about Thompson is aware that the Thompson-Love deal gained considerable traction in 2014 before it was vetoed by then-adviser Jerry West and newly hired head coach Steve Kerr.

If the Warriors were thinking about it then, why not later?

They have their reasons, beginning with the fact they’ve experienced more success over the past three seasons than at any time in franchise history, winning two championships in three seasons and becoming a regular in the NBA Finals. Why even consider breaking the squad that so clearly is the cream of the NBA?

Another reason is that the Warriors have come to fully understand Thompson’s role in their competitive prosperity. He’s a gunslinger that manages to be highly productive without spending much time with the ball, and his fabulous defense makes that end of the court so much easier for Curry. The Thompson-Curry backcourt is the best in the league and already in the discussion for the best ever.

There is another component that is rather understated. Thompson is the ultimate zero-maintenance All-Star. In a locker room of varied personalities, some loud, nearly all opinionated, he’s like a breeze that is cool enough be felt yet never so much it feels imposing.

The Warriors have come to appreciate Thompson being the closest thing to a wind-up All-Star in a league where that is exceedingly rare. Give him a jersey, a ball and some shoes and let him go.

So, no, he’s not leaving anytime soon. The only way he goes before he becomes a free agent in 2019 -- at which time he’s likely to take a peep around the NBA -- is if the Warriors somehow take a tumble in the standings or try to low-ball him.

Until then, teams may continue to ask. They have to as a strategy to improve themselves while diminishing the league’s powerhouse. Understanding this, the Warriors will take the calls and appreciate the humor of it all.