WASHINGTON -- Now Roger Clemens gets a chance to tell his side of the story under oath. So does his good pal Andy Pettitte. And their former trainer, Brian McNamee, too.
Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, was asked Friday to testify before a congressional committee looking into the Mitchell Report on doping in baseball, nearly three years after the same panel brought sluggers Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro to Capitol Hill.
Also invited to appear before the House Oversight Committee on Jan. 16 were Clemens' former New York Yankees teammates Pettitte and Chuck Knoblauch; McNamee, who has said he injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone; and former Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski, whose allegations were central to the findings released last month by former Senate majority leader George Mitchell.
Although no one had agreed to show up for the hearing as of late Friday afternoon, the committee's announcement listed Clemens and others under the heading, "Witnesses will include."
"Roger is willing to answer questions, including those posed to him while under oath," said Clemens' lawyer, Rusty Hardin. "We hope to determine shortly if schedules and other commitments can accommodate the committee on that date."
Said the committee's minority staff director, David Marin: "We always presume that invited witnesses will appear."
That session will take place one day after the lawmakers are to hear testimony from Mitchell, along with baseball commissioner Bud Selig and union leader Donald Fehr.
"The original hearing was called to examine the Mitchell recommendations and findings. The committee has decided to hold a second day of hearings for the very same reason -- to invite people with varying perspectives on the Mitchell Report to shed further light on it," Marin said.
Clemens, who ranks eighth in major league history with 354 career wins, and McNamee, a former strength coach for the Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays, have engaged in a public game of he-said, he-said -- although neither has spoken under oath about the matter.
"Congress is asking him to appear. In all likelihood, he will certainly appear," said Richard Emery, one of McNamee's lawyers.
McNamee's claims about Clemens were the most striking part of the Mitchell Report. He told Mitchell he injected Clemens with steroids in 1998 while they were with Toronto, and with steroids and human growth hormone in 2000 and 2001 while with New York.
Clemens issued a video statement denying McNamee's accusations. In an interview with CBS's "60 Minutes" to be aired Sunday night, Clemens admits he was injected by McNamee but with painkillers and vitamin B-12 -- not performance-enhancing drugs. Clemens also told CBS that McNamee's accusation was "ridiculous" and said he "never" used banned substances.
The 45-year-old Clemens put off retirement yet again in 2007, returning to the Yankees in June and going 6-6 with a 4.18 ERA. The right-hander hasn't said whether he will pitch in the majors in 2008, although an indication he might retire came in November when his agent told the Houston Astros that Clemens is set to start his personal-services contract with the team.
Pettitte, who has won 201 games and four World Series titles, acknowledged McNamee injected him with HGH twice while the pitcher was recovering from an injury. The 35-year-old left-hander recently put off retirement and agreed to a $16 million, one-year contract to play for the Yankees next season.
McNamee told Mitchell he acquired HGH from Radomski for Knoblauch in 2001, and that he injected the 1991 AL Rookie of the Year and four-time All-Star with it. Knoblauch stopped playing in 2002.
Radomski pleaded guilty in April to federal felony charges of distributing steroids and laundering money, and he is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 8.
Phone calls were not returned by Radomski's lawyer or the agent who represents Pettitte and Knoblauch.
There had been some question as to whether the House panel would ask players to appear again.
"It could be a circus with players, true," Marin said. "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."
This is the group of lawmakers that convened the March 2005 hearing where McGwire refused to answer questions about whether he used steroids, repeatedly saying, "I'm not here to talk about the past." Sosa testified he had never knowingly used illegal performance-enhancing drugs. Palmeiro pointed his finger for emphasis and declared: "I have never used steroids. Period." He was suspended by baseball later that year after testing positive for a steroid.
The leaders of the committee, California Democrat Henry Waxman and Virginia Republican Tom 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 congressional committee has scheduled a Jan. 23 hearing on the Mitchell Report.