|Clemens a no-show at Astros camp, but son passionately defends him|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 28 January 2008 13:01|
Roger Clemens was accused by his former trainer in last month's Mitchell Report of using steroids and human growth hormone in 1998, 2000 and 2001, allegations the seven-time Cy Young Award winner vehemently denies.
``It kills me that this is happening to my dad,'' Koby Clemens, an Astros' prospect, said after Monday's workout. ``What he's done for the game and what now is being turned back to him for what he's done for the game is tough. It's hard on me, but you can't imagine how hard it is on my dad.''
Koby Clemens, the pitcher's oldest son, said the ordeal has made his family stronger and brought its members closer together.
Clemens is set to testify Feb. 13 before a House committee along with former teammates Andy Pettitte and Chuck Knoblauch, and Brian McNamee, the former personal trainer for Clemens and Pettitte. Clemens sued McNamee for defamation.
Clemens' agent released an 18,000-word, 49-page statistical report to refute allegations that his career improved about the time he was accused of using performance-enhancing drugs.
The pitcher has a personal-services contract with the Astros set to begin when he retires, and he helped last year at the training camp, which features Nolan Ryan and Jeff Bagwell.
``I don't think he's going to be able to make it out for this camp because he's getting all his stuff sorted out,'' Koby Clemens said. ``Everybody loves him here. He's a great guy to talk to. How bad it's gotten, it just kind of stinks that he can't be here.''
Astros general manager Ed Wade said he hasn't spoken to Clemens.
``He's still welcome to be here,'' Wade said. ``We'll wait and see what happens down the road. I want the kids to learn as much as they can, so anybody who's got an involvement in the organization and a willingness to help teach is welcome.''
Ryan, who declined to talk about performance-enhancing drugs at a fundraiser last week in California, spoke at length about the issue Monday.
``I think baseball ignored it for a long time,'' he said. ``Anytime you have a problem that you ignore, when you do finally address it ... then the bigger the problem is. I think that's what we're seeing. We have to get that behind us and move on.''
The Hall of Fame pitcher said he hasn't spoken to Clemens since the report was released, but that his wife has exchanged supportive e-mails with Clemens' wife.
``Roger being the name that he is and the recognition that he has throughout our country, when his name showed up I think it's just natural that it was brought to the forefront like it has been,'' Ryan said. ``I feel really bad for him, for what has gone on this winter. I'm sure it's been a really tough winter for him and his family.''
Koby said it has been difficult for his family to deal with the ``nasty things that people have to say'' in the media about his father, but people they encounter around the city have been overwhelmingly supportive.
``Me and my dad have been running around Memorial Park and everybody's been great saying, `Good luck in Congress,' and nothing but great e-mails,'' Koby said. ``There's some people that are going to have their opinion, but that's just how it is. There's been a lot more good than bad.''
The statistical report, created by Randy Hendricks and two associates at his firm, includes 38 charts and in some ways resembles a salary arbitration case.
``Clemens' longevity was due to his ability to adjust his style of pitching as he got older, incorporating his very effective split-finger fastball to offset the decrease in the speed of his regular fastball caused by aging,'' the report said.
One of the charts shows Clemens' ERA was lower than the league average in all but two of his 23 major league seasons. The report also compares variations in Clemens' career with those of Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling and Ryan, and maintains slumps often can be correlated with injuries.
``Of the six years that feature Clemens' best ERA margins, two occurred in Boston, after he had been in the major leagues for several years; two occurred in his two years in Toronto; and two occurred after he switched leagues and pitched for the Houston Astros,'' the report said.
AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum in New York contributed to this report.
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