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roger clemens

Andy Pettitte Took the Stand at the Roger Clemens Trial Today

We knew that Andy Pettitte was going to testify at Take 2 of the Roger Clemens trial at some point, but he wasn't expected to be called to the stand quite yet. Indeed, there were plenty of reports about Andy Pettitte over the past day or so, but all concerned his outing in an extended spring training game last night (five earned runs over five and two-thirds innings), as well as Brian Cashman's update on Pettitte's progress ("At least one more [start] in the minors.") But in a surprise move, Pettitte was called to the stand by the prosecution today on just the third day of testimony.

Pettitte testified that Clemens had said that he'd used human growth hormone to help recover from injuries. From Bloomberg:

Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Durham asked Pettitte about a discussion that occurred at Clemens’s house in 1999 or 2000.

“Roger mentioned to me that he had taken HGH and that it could help with recovery,” Pettitte said, referring the human growth hormone. “That’s really all I remember of the conversation.”

Pettitte earlier testified about his baseball career, his 2011 retirement and his current attempt to return to the Yankees pitching roster. Durham began asking Pettitte about his relationship with Clemens when U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton recessed the trial for lunch.

Pettitte said that Clemens was one of the players he admired in high school — Jim Abbott and Nolan Ryan were the others — and said that Clemens had been a mentor to him after Clemens was traded to the Yankees in 1999. According to the Times, Pettitte and Clemens didn't look at each other in the courtroom today. Clemens is charged with one count of obstructing a congressional investigation, three counts of making false statements, and two counts of perjury.

The timing of Pettitte's testimony could be seen as good for the Yankees. As Craig Calcaterra notes at Hardball Talk, he's getting it out of the way now, before he joins the big-league club. (We're normally hesitant to play the distraction card, but it's hard to argue that having to testify against his former mentor wouldn't weigh on him, at least a little.) It also doesn't hurt that Pettitte's testimony today came as such a surprise: Less than 24 hours ago, we were talking about his extended spring training outing and a potential timetable for his return. Perhaps by the time he makes his next start against minor-league opponents, we'll be talking about those things again — all before he throws a pitch in a big-league game this season.

Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty