WASHINGTON (AP) – Defense attorneys used a former baseball manager and a massage therapist to argue that Roger Clemens didn’t change much physically late in his career, as they try to undercut the government’s case that the pitcher turned to performance-enhancing drugs to prolong his time in the big leagues.
The massage therapist, Cheryl Redfern, who treated Clemens from 1995 to 2003, testified Thursday that she never saw acne on Clemens’ body or noticed any changes in his upper body – two possible byproducts of steroid use.
In his 40s, when most players are retired, Clemens continued to pitch at a high level, especially with the Houston Astros from 2004-2006. His manager during most of that time, Phil Garner, said the pitcher’s performance didn’t change over those years.
But the numbers don’t support that: In Clemens’ first year with Houston, he won his seventh Cy Young Award and posted an excellent 2.98 earned run average. In his second year with Houston, when Clemens turned 43, his ERA dropped by more than a run, to an extraordinarily good 1.87.
Clemens is charged with lying to Congress in 2008 when he said he never took steroids or human growth hormone. His lawyers are trying to demonstrate that Clemens used smarts and hard work – not performance-enhancing drugs – to post age-defying numbers.
Garner became the latest in a string of witnesses to speak glowingly of Clemens’ leadership and work ethic.
“Ever see Roger Clemens cut corners?” Clemens’ lawyer Rusty Hardin asked.