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Clemens to make next pitch on Capitol Hill

He, McNamee and others are asked to testify before Congress. Attorney says the pitcher will comply.

January 05, 2008|Lance Pugmire and Richard Simon | Times Staff Writers

Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte and their former strength coach Brian McNamee were asked Friday to testify Jan. 16 before a congressional committee exploring performance-enhancing drug use in baseball.

Former New York Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski, whose allegations were a central part of last month's report by former Sen. George Mitchell on doping in baseball, also was invited to appear before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chaired by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Beverly Hills). Former All-Star second baseman Chuck Knoblauch also was asked to speak to the panel.

The committee was awaiting responses from the invitees, since the requests were only recently sent out.

Those who appear will testify under oath, and a spokeswoman says there has been "no discussion of immunity."

"We do expect them to appear voluntarily," said Phil Schiliro, the committee's chief of staff, declining to comment on the possibility of subpoenas being used to force the appearances.

Clemens' attorney said the seven-time Cy Young Award winner would be a willing participant.

"We welcome Chairman Waxman and the Committee's interest in this very serious matter," Clemens' attorney, Rusty Hardin, said in a prepared statement. "Roger is willing to answer questions, including those posed to him while under oath. We hope to determine shortly if schedules and other commitments can accommodate the committee on that date."

A day earlier, the committee is to hear testimony from baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, union leader Donald Fehr and former Senate majority leader Mitchell.

David Marin, the committee's minority staff director, said that Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia, the panel's top Republican, encouraged Waxman to add this second day of hearings.

"If our goal is to fully review Sen. Mitchell's findings and recommendations, we needed this second day of perspective," Marin said.

While the hearing, certain to be televised, is likely to provide plenty of drama, lawmakers see it as critical to helping them determine what kind of legislation might be needed to address drug use in sports.

"It could be a circus with players, true," Marin said in a telephone interview with the Associated Press. "But if you tailor it right and invite people who clearly have pertinent information about the substance of the report, then it's anything but a circus. It's substantive. That's what Democrats and Republicans have agreed to here."

Waxman and Davis called a 2005 hearing in which slugger Mark McGwire declined to talk about "the past," and first baseman Rafael Palmeiro said while pointing to lawmakers that he had never used steroids, only to test positive for a banned drug later that year.

McNamee told Mitchell he had injected Clemens with steroids during the 1998, 2000 and 2001 seasons, adding human growth hormone injections in 2000. Clemens, in an interview to be broadcast by CBS' "60 Minutes" on Sunday, said McNamee injected him only with vitamin B-12 and the painkiller lidocaine, not performance-enhancing drugs.

McNamee's attorney says his client stands behind the accuracy of his statements to Mitchell.

Pettitte acknowledged McNamee injected him with HGH twice. The pitcher said it was while he was recovering from an injury.

McNamee told Mitchell he acquired HGH from Radomski for Knoblauch in 2001, and that he injected him with it.

Radomski pleaded guilty in April to federal felony charges of distributing steroids and laundering money, and he was scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 8.

The committee's announcement listed Clemens and others under the heading "Witnesses will include," and a committee source said Waxman expected all would accept the invitation. There has been no discussion of immunity for the invitees, leaving them subject to a perjury charge should they give the committee false statements.

On Thursday, McNamee's attorney, Earl Ward, said the former strength and conditioning coach of the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees would be reluctant to appear before Congress because of his desire to move beyond the massive media attention his comments to Mitchell generated.

"He's not even living in his [New York] house anymore," Ward said. "He wants to move on."

Following the committee's invitation Friday, Ward did not immediately return telephone messages, and an Associated Press phone call to Radomski's lawyer was not immediately returned.

Waxman and Davis were among several members of the House and Senate who sponsored legislation in 2005 proposing to mandate stronger steroid testing and penalties for baseball and other U.S. professional sports leagues.

Another committee has scheduled a Jan. 23 hearing on the Mitchell report.

Times staff writer Bill Shaikin and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

lance.pugmire@latimes.com

richard.simon@latimes.com

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(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

Invitation only

People of interest asked to testify on Jan. 16 before a congressional committee examining the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball:

* Roger Clemens, pitcher

* Brian McNamee, strength coach

* Kirk Radomski, ex-clubhouse staff

* Andy Pettitte, pitcher

* Chuck Knoblauch, former player

Los Angeles Times

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