MICHELE NORRIS, host:
Today, New York Yankees pitcher, Andy Pettitte apologized for, in his words, the embarrassment he caused by his revelation that he used a performance-enhancing drug. Pettitte spoke to reporters on his first day of spring training in Florida. Last week, his sworn testimony implicated his friend and former teammate, Roger Clemens in the use of human growth hormone which is banned in baseball.
NPR's Tom Goldman reports.
TOM GOLDMAN: Andy 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 Bryan McNamee, the former personal trainer who said in a recent Mitchell Report on doping in baseball that he injected Clemens with banned steroids and human growth hormone. McNamee also said he injected Pettitte with HGH which Pettitte admitted.
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 today's press conference in Tampa, Pettitte was asked for his reaction to what Clemens said.
Mr. ANDY PETTITTE (Pitcher, New York Yankees): I mean, I had to testify. I testified under oath and, you know, Roger said what he had to say and that's really all I'll say about that whole situation.
GOLDMAN: 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 hour-long media session, that he and Clemens never had any how-to discussions about the use of human growth hormone. Looking relaxed and wearing a black polo shirt and jeans, 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.
Mr. PETTITTE: I didn't do it to try to get an edge on anyone. I didn't do it to try to get stronger, or faster, or throw harder. I did it because I was told it might be able to help me. Do I think I am a cheater? I don't, because from the bottom of my heart, and God knows my heart, I know why I was doing this. Was it stupid? Yeah, it was stupid. Was I desperate? Yeah, I was probably desperate.
GOLDMAN: In his sworn testimony revealed last week, Pettitte admitted using HGH a second time in 2004. It was supplied by his father, who is using the substance to battle health problems. Pettitte talked about that today in a written statement before the questions and answers.
Mr. PETTITTE: I never wanted to bring my dad into a situation like this. This was between me and him and no one else. I testified about my dad in part because I felt in my heart that I had to, but mainly because he urged me to tell the truth even if it hurt him.
GOLDMAN: Baseball banned HGH in 2005, so both times Pettitte used it, he wasn't breaking baseball rules. Pettitte said 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 the case against Clemens or McNamee goes forward, chances are Andy Pettitte's story will surface again.
Tom Goldman, NPR News.
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