Roger Clemens' wife is a liar too, apparently

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Roger Clemens' wife is a liar too, apparently

From Comcast SportsNet
WASHINGTON (AP) -- In their final attempt to convince jurors that Roger Clemens lied to Congress, prosecutors basically called his wife a liar, too. Prosecutor Courtney Saleski used closing arguments to challenge Debbie Clemens' version of how and when she got a shot of human growth hormone and tried to bolster government witness Andy Pettitte in the process -- just before the case went to the jury. In his closing, Clemens' lawyer Rusty Hardin characterized the case as "a horrible, horrible overreach by the government and everyone involved" and hammered away at the government's evidence. Jurors, who met for only 15 minutes Tuesday, resume deliberations Wednesday afternoon. Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winning pitcher, is charged with perjury, making false statements and obstructing Congress when he denied under oath in 2008 that he took steroids or HGH. The government's chief witness, Clemens' longtime strength coach Brian McNamee, said he injected Clemens with steroids in 1998, 2000 and 2001 and with HGH in 2000. Debbie Clemens testified last week that she received a shot of HGH from McNamee, without Roger Clemens' knowledge. McNamee had testified that Roger Clemens was present for the shot, and one of the false statements Clemens is alleged to have made is that his wife was injected without his prior knowledge or approval. Saleski called Debbie Clemens' version "not true" and argued that her account went against her basic nature. Saleski said Debbie Clemens lists three rules on her website: Plan ahead, be practical and use common sense -- so one wouldn't expect her to take the "reckless" step of taking a "risky injection of a prescription drug" on her own. "The truth is that Roger Clemens was there, as Brian McNamee told you," Saleski insisted. McNamee had testified that Debbie Clemens looked at her husband and said, "I can't believe you're going to let him do this to me," and Clemens responded: "He injects me. Why can't he inject you?" Saleski tried to connect the story to Pettitte, who testified last month that Clemens told him in 1999 or 2000 he had used HGH -- only to agree under cross-examination that there was a "5050" chance he misunderstood his former teammate. Pettitte had told congressional investigators that when he brought up Clemens' admission a few years ago, Clemens had said: "I never told you that. ... I told you that Debbie used HGH." Saleski tried to convince jurors that Roger and Debbie Clemens changed the date of her injection from 2003 to 2000 because if it happened in 2003, then Roger Clemens' explanation back in 2000 to Pettitte that he had been talking about his wife doesn't make any sense. "They have to back this date up," Saleski said. "Andy Pettitte got this right" the first time. In a 2008 deposition, Clemens said of the injection, "The year, I'm going to say 2003 possibly." Later changing the year to 2000, the prosecutor claimed, "is one of Roger Clemens' cover stories." Saleski said Clemens gambled when he told Congress he didn't take performance-enhancing drugs. "He threw sand in their eyes," she said. "He obstructed their investigation. He stole the truth from them." Saleski acknowledged that Clemens was a great pitcher with a strong work ethic and that "we know that you do not want to find Roger Clemens guilty. Nobody wants to believe he did this." But she argued the evidence shows that he lied to Congress. Jurors will have to digest a trial that includes 26 days of testimony by 46 witnesses. They were provided with a complex verdict sheet that includes 13 Clemens' statements that are alleged to have obstructed Congress. Hardin voiced outrage that the jury was being asked to make Clemens a convicted felon over some of the statements -- including whether the pitcher was at teammate Jose Canseco's house on the day of a pool party in June 1998, an event the government called a "benchmark" days before McNamee's first injection of Clemens. McNamee said he saw Clemens talking with Canseco, who jurors heard was a steroids user. "This is outrageous!" yelled Hardin, his face reddening as he pounded the podium three times. Clemens said at his deposition that he wasn't at Canseco's house on the day of the party, but evidence at the trial showed that he was. U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton has said he has some concerns as to whether the party is relevant to the case. Either way, Hardin said some of Clemens' wayward statements to Congress simply came from a man trying his best to remember and shouldn't be a reason to return a guilty verdict. "He's a Cy Young baseball player," Hardin said. "Not a Cy Young witness. ... He's a human being just like everyone else in here." "This man's reputation has been totally ruined," he added. "We've thrown this man's reputation to the dogs." After Hardin's presentation, Clemens and Hardin embraced for several seconds; Clemens patted the lawyer's back four times. Clemens' lawyer Michael Attanasio hugged Debbie Clemens a few feet away. Clemens, 49, walked down the hallway with his four sons in tow, one of the sons draping his arm around his father.

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Nats' Dusty Baker talks about slapping Trea Turner's butt, things get weird

Nats' Dusty Baker talks about slapping Trea Turner's butt, things get weird

Manager Dusty Baker was asked about Trea Turner's surprising strength on Thursday night and, well, his answer was a bit unexpected.

You could say things got a little weird. Baker started talking about Turner's build and his description got quite specific:

"He’s wiry-strong. You can tell by that ball he hit down the line. That’s a big man’s swing right there. He’s stronger than he appears. And he’s going to get stronger yet, when he gets his man-muscles or his man-bones or whatever you call it. Heh-heh. Cause today I tapped him on the butt, and I was like: ‘Man, you’re hard as a rock.’ And he said: ‘Well, I should be. It’s all bone.’”

Okay, then. Now, that's a quote. 

Baker also described Max Scherzer's between-the-legs on Thursday night in terms that included the male anatomy:

"First time I’ve seen that. Good thing that ball didn’t hop up on him, know what I mean?”

Just another night with Dusty Baker, one of the funniest people in sports.

[RELATED: Strasburg plays catch, Nats say injury not in area of Tommy John surgery]

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Max Scherzer digs down deep to help Nats, shut up Orioles fans

Max Scherzer digs down deep to help Nats, shut up Orioles fans

Despite his team holding a comfortable division lead in the final week of August, there was plenty on the line to motivate Max Scherzer on Thursday night at Nationals Park.

He was tasked with stopping his team's four-game losing streak against a team in the Baltimore Orioles that was aiming for a four-game sweep. Going back to last season, the O's had won six consecutive games over the Nats. They had their number. They smelled blood. And because of the proximity of the team's stadiums, they had some of their friends lacing the audience dressed in orange.

The Nationals' bullpen also needed a favor. Rookie starter Reynaldo Lopez went just 2 2/3 innings on Tuesday and Tanner Roark was bounced after five the following night. Last week Nats relievers were plagued by even shorter outings from the rotation, rain delays and injuries.

Simply put, the Nationals needed Scherzer to be the ace they paid him $210 million to be. They needed 'Mad Max.'

So, Scherzer stepped out of the dugout and into the view of a sellout crowd on Thursday night with that crazed looked in his eye, that 20-strikeout, 'you'll be lucky to get any hits at all' kind of look. He was ready to be the aggressor against an Orioles lineup that is as aggressive and powerful as they come.

"They have a lot of guys that have a lot of thump in their lineup and the past three nights, I had really been watching them," Scherzer said. "I was going through my experience and really coming up with a gameplan of how I needed to pitch against them."

Scherzer used that preparation to charge out to a fantastic start with six strikeouts in his first eight at-bats. He carved up the Orioles to the tune of eight shutout innings with 10 strikeouts, no walks and just two hits allowed. That set the stage for just the fifth time the O's have been shut out this season.

"That’s what aces do," manager Dusty Baker said. "He shut down a very high–powered offense. There were only a couple balls hit hard off him. Had quite a few strikeouts. Boy, that was a masterful, masterful job by Max."

It was the 11th time Scherzer has posted double-digit strikeouts in a game this season, more than any other MLB pitcher. That tied the Nats club record he set himself just last year.

His 10th strikeout was against Orioles catcher Matt Wieters in the eighth inning. He then got J.J. Hardy to fly out to end the frame and his night after 95 pitches.

Scherzer had every reason to keep pushing late in his start, but there was something in the park on Thursday that gave him some extra motivation.

"I gave everything I got there in the eighth, the O's fans started making noise there in the eighth and that really kind of ticked me off. When they're sitting out there cheering at our park, I didn't like that," he said.

That, of course, was a minor consideration for Scherzer. More important to him was saving the aforementioned bullpen, which has been taxed more than any part of their roster during this current stretch of 20 games in 20 days.

"I knew I needed to pitch deep into the game tonight. Our bullpen has been taxed, and I really needed to try and get deep into the game to try and help those guys out. That was huge to get into the eighth and complete the eighth and just turn the ball over to Mark [Melancon], so that was a first and foremost thing that I knew I needed to do tonight," he said.

[RELATED: Nats' Ross making quick progress, may start rehab assignment soon]

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Jimenez was good, but Scherzer was too much for Orioles in series finale

Jimenez was good, but Scherzer was too much for Orioles in series finale

WASHINGTON---Thrust in the starting rotation because Chris Tillman is on the disabled list, Ubaldo Jimenez pitched a creditable game on Thursday night. 

Jimenez’s issue was that Max Scherzer was nearly perfect. 

The Orioles had just two hits in eight innings against Scherzer as the Washington Nationals beat the Orioles 4-0 before a sellout crowd of 39,722 at Nationals Park. 

After winning the first three games against the Nationals (74-53), the Orioles (70-57) were shut down completely by the great Scherzer, who struck out 10 in his eight innings without walking a batter. He threw 95 pitches. 

Jimenez allowed one run on five hits, striking out four without walking a batter in six innings. 

“I think everybody was pulling for him. He’s such a good young man, just needed it. I almost took him out after the fifth, but he said he felt good and wanted to go there. but we needed those six innings. We’re still having trouble pitching that last inning. It’s been a challenge for us, but Ubaldo kept us in the game. There’s a game there to be won if we could keep that thing at 1-0,” manager Buck Showalter said. 

Logan Ondrusek allowed three runs in the eighth. 

Scherzer (14-7) quickly retired the first nine Orioles, striking out six of them before Adam Jones doubled to left, leading off the fourth. That was the Orioles’ only baserunner. 

After setting down the next 12, Mark Trumbo singled to lead off the eighth. 

Jayson Werth led off the fourth with a long home run to center field off JImenez and the Nationals had a 1-0 lead.  

Jimenez won the plaudits of his manager and teammates. 

“I want to talk about how Ubaldo threw the ball. He went out there and I’m pretty sure many people didn’t expect him to do what he did. Six innings. One pitch I know he wants to have back, but he threw the hell out of the ball,” Jones said. 

Jones was pinch hit for in the ninth inning, and Showalter said he was taken out as a precaution.

“He had a cramp in the hamstring in one leg. Felt it earlier in the game, and I just didn’t like the description. I talked to him when he came off the field in the bottom of the 8th. It’s just not worth taking a chance, because we really don't have much depth at that position either,” Showalter said. 

Jones dismissed questions about his injury as he generally does when he’s hurt. “I’m good, so it doesn’t matter,” Jones said. He did say he planned on playing Friday. 

Jimenez’s turn will come up against Toronto on Tuesday. This year, Jimenez has allowed 12 runs on 15 hits in 7 2/3 innings against the Blue Jays.

“I haven’t even gotten that far on. I don’t know what else he has to do,” Showalter said. “We’ll step back and take a look at it and continue to try to put our best foot forward. He certainly did tonight.”

Jimenez was pleased with how well he pitched in his first start since July 28 against the Twins.

“That’s everything I’ve done in my career, start. I know why I was put in the bullpen, but it’s very good to have this one and the one in Minnesota too. Hopefully, I get some more, but wherever they put me, I’m going to try to do the best I can to be there for the team,” Jimenez said. 

He enjoyed the matchup with one of the game’s best. 

“As a starting pitcher, that’s one of the games that you dream of, because it gets you going. You have to bring your A-game, because that guy’s tough to hit,” Jimenez said. 

The Orioles were aggressive against Scherzer, but it didn’t work

“I guess so, but that didn’t rattle him. He kept back. He had a plan. He executed it. He was using all his pitches tonight. He was very difficult to face, and he did a good job,” Steve Pearce said. 

The game got away in the eighth when Ondrusek pitched his second inning. Mike Wright came on after the first three batters of the inning got on. 

Trea Turner, who was 10-for-13 in the last three games of the series, singled to begin the inning. Werth singled, and Daniel Murphy doubled down the right field line to score Turner. Bryce Harper’s double scored two more for a 4-0 lead. 

Showalter said that the team might have to make one or two moves because neither Ondrusek nor Wright would be available on Friday.

One of the possible additions, T.J. McFarland pitched a perfect inning for Bowie. 

NOTE: The Orioles open a three-game series at Yankee Stadium on Friday. Yovani Gallardo (4-5, 5.08) faces Luis Cessa (3-0, 4.01).  

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