New York Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte apologized Monday for the embarrassment he caused by public revelations that he used a banned performance-enhancing drug. Pettitte spoke to reporters on his first day of spring training in Florida. Last week, Pettitte's sworn testimony implicated his friend and former teammate Roger Clemens in the use of human growth hormone, which is banned in baseball.
Pettitte didn't testify at last week's dramatic congressional hearing that pitted two of his friends against each other: all-star pitcher Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee, the former personal trainer who said in the Mitchell Report that he injected Clemens with banned steroids and human growth hormone.
McNamee also said he injected Pettitte with HGH, which Pettitte admitted to. Clemens has steadfastly denied that he got drugs from McNamee.
Even though he wasn't at the hearing, Pettitte said in a sworn statement that Clemens admitted using HGH in a conversation the two men had around 1999 or 2000.
When asked about Pettitte's testimony, Clemens told lawmakers that Pettitte misheard and misremembered.
At Monday's press conference in Tampa, Pettitte was asked for his reaction to what Clemens said.
"I mean, I had to testify," Pettitte said. "I testified under oath. And Roger said what he had to say and that's really all I'll say about that whole situation."
Pettitte declined to answer most questions about the discrepancy between his and Clemens' stories, mainly because there could be future legal proceedings against Clemens. Pettitte did say late in the hourlong media session that he and Clemens never had any "how to" discussions about the use of human growth hormone.
Pettitte was much more willing to talk about his own admission of HGH use. He said he used it in 2002 for a couple of days to try to heal an injured elbow.
"I didn't do it to try to get an edge on anyone," Pettitte said. "I did it because I was told it might be able to help me. Do I think I'm a cheater? I don't, because from the bottom of my heart – and God knows my heart — I know why I was doing this."
In his sworn testimony revealed last week, Pettitte admitted using HGH a second time in 2004. It was supplied by his father, who was using the substance to battle health problems. Pettitte talked about that Monday in a written statement before the questions and answers.
"I never wanted to bring my dad into a situation like this," Pettitte said. "This was between me and him and no one else. I testified about my dad, in part, because I felt in my heart I had to, but mainly because he urged me to tell the truth even if it hurt him."
Baseball banned HGH in 2005, so Pettitte wasn't breaking baseball rules both times he used it. Pettitte says he hopes he can repair his friendship with Roger Clemens, who he hasn't spoken to since last week's hearing. Pettitte says he hopes he doesn't have to do anything else relating to his involvement in the Mitchell Report, but if a case against Clemens or McNamee goes forward, chances are, Andy Pettitte's story will surface again.