WASHINGTON (AP) – Injured and defeated in a playoff game against the Boston Red Sox, Roger Clemens asked for the man who could “push his buttons.” He asked for Brian McNamee.
Brian Cashman, the general manager of the New York Yankees, recalled that moment Thursday in the perjury trial of the 11-time All-Star pitcher. It was Game 3 of the American League championship series in 1999. Clemens had allowed five runs before leaving after two innings with a bum leg. He had struggled through what would be the worst season of his 24-year career, when it came to his earned run average.
Cashman said he went to the visitor’s clubhouse at Fenway Park and found Clemens with ice on his leg and frustration on his face.
“He talked about how he clicked with Brian McNamee,” Cashman said. “He knew his body. Brian knew how to train him, push the right buttons on him.”
McNamee was hired by the Yankees as an assistant strength and conditioning coach the following year at a salary of $30,000, but as Cashman put it: “His duties were to train Roger Clemens.”
McNamee, who is expected to testify next week, has said he injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone during the 1998, 2000, and 2001 major league seasons. Clemens is on trial for perjury, based on his testimony to Congress in 2008 that he never used either substance.
As the trial reached the end of its fourth week, it finally began to gravitate toward its key witness. McNamee is expected to testify next week, perhaps as early as Monday. The government’s case hinges on his credibility.
Before joining the Yankees, McNamee had previously worked with Clemens when both were with the Toronto Blue Jays, where Clemens won two Cy Young Awards in two seasons.