Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pal Says Clemens Faces Jail Before Cooperstown

While steroid-tarnished Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte enjoys absolution as he tries to win the American League pennant, former teammate Roger Clemens remains under a cloud that will not go away until he faces the possibility of prison by coming clean as Pettitte did, a career-long friend says.

"If he wants to go to the Hall of Fame," says Clemens' college teammate Rusty Uresti, "he's going to have to go back and tell them to 'lock me up for perjury' or whatever. He should have got his story straight with Pettitte, say that he was just trying to help the team."

While Clemens has sworn under oath that he never used performance-enhancing drugs, he could face a finding of contempt of Congress or other retribution if it is proved he is lying.

Pettitte acknowledged using a banned substance, asking and receiving understanding and forgiveness. Clemens meanwhile is sticking with his story, and has filed various motions and countersuits to save his reputation.

The irony is that if Clemens took drugs it means only that he was just doing what other players were doing at that time, given the tacit standards and norms of his era, said Uresti. As soon as bans were enforced, it was over, he said.

"He never tested positive," said the former Atlanta Braves minor league catcher and Mexican League pitcher caught Clemens in his final year at University of Texas in 1983. Now residing in the Austin area, Uresti works as a professional caddy for PGA tour members, including Robert Gamez, Frank Lickliter and others.

Uresti and Clemens have stayed acquainted over the years though neither Uresti nor other former teammates tend to discuss Clemens' legal troubles when they see him, Uresti said. The subject is pointless, as most players from Clemens' time understand that it used to be more or less acceptable to do whatever you could to stay productive,' Uresti said.

Uresti said he likely would have tested positive if he had been examined duringhis baseball playing days as he ocassionally used a topically applied type of horse linament that was commonly found in lockerrooms in the 1980s and more recently.

He thought little of it at the time.