WASHINGTON — The House oversight committee withdrew a subpoena of the former Yankees second baseman Chuck Knoblauch on Monday and said he had voluntarily agreed to speak to committee staff members on Friday about performance-enhancing drugs in baseball.
Three weeks ago, Knoblauch was asked along with Roger Clemens and three others to appear in front of the committee. He was the only one who did not respond to the committee’s requests and had to be subpoenaed last Tuesday to appear. He is scheduled to meet with congressional staff members in Washington.
Kirk Radomski, a former Mets clubhouse attendant who became a major source of the drugs to professional baseball players from 1995 to 2005, has been scheduled to speak to staff members on Feb. 12, the day before a public hearing on the Mitchell report, the committee spokeswoman Karen Lightfoot added Monday evening.
That completed the lineup for depositions or transcribed statements before the hearing. Already scheduled are pitchers Andy Pettitte on Wednesday, Clemens on Feb. 5, and their former personal trainer, Brian McNamee, on Feb. 7.
The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform scheduled the hearing and interviews to discuss Clemens’s challenge to the report issued last month by George J. Mitchell.
“Congress is doing this because Roger Clemens has challenged the evidence put out by the Mitchell report,” J. Keith Ausbrook, the chief counsel for the committee’s Republican members, said Monday in a telephone interview. “It’s important for Congress to examine those claims, and reaffirming those claims will add evidence to the Mitchell report, so that Congress can evaluate baseball’s response.”
While Clemens continues to insist he has not used performance-enhancing drugs, his lawyers have recently argued that Congress does not need to spend its time on the hearing. But the committee is determined to follow up on the Mitchell report.“We’ve had some discussions with them, and we’ve made it clear we’re going ahead with our hearing,” Ausbrook said.
Meanwhile, Clemens continued his campaign to fight McNamee’s allegations in Mitchell’s report. His agents, Hendricks Sports Management, issued a 45-page statistical analysis Monday arguing that Clemens prolonged his career by making adjustment in his pitching, not by drug use. “Clemens’s longevity was due to his ability to adjust his style of pitching as he got older, incorporating his very effective split-finger fastball to offset the decrease in the speed of his regular fastball caused by aging,” the report says.
In an e-mail message, Randy Hendricks, one of Clemens’s agents, said his firm had released the analysis to try to refute inaccurate statements that had been made about Clemens’s performance.
“There is a lot of misconception and misinformation floating out in the public domain,“ Hendricks said, citing the perception that Clemens was losing some of his effectiveness when he left the Boston Red Sox after the 1996 season.
“In fact, he was in the top 10 in many pitching categories in 1996, the Red Sox tried to re-sign him, and his new contract with Toronto made him one of the highest-paid pitchers in baseball,“ Hendricks said, “fitting for a pitcher of his caliber who just led his league in strikeouts.“ The Hendricks report — posted on RogerClemensReport.com — says that as the speed of Clemens’s fastball diminished, he began to rely on his split-finger fastball and superior control.
“He also threw more two-seam fastballs that had a lot of lateral movement,” the report says. “This combination made him a superior pitcher, even as his velocity decreased to a roughly average rate for the major leagues.”
The report also compares Clemens’s statistics to those of the Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan, who also pitched into his 40s but has never been publicly tied to the use of performance-enhancing drugs. None of Clemens’s top five seasonal strikeout rates came after he turned 40, while Ryan’s top three came after he turned 40.
The Mitchell report says that McNamee began injecting Clemens with performance-enhancing drugs after a road trip that ended in June 1998, but it does not specify a day. McNamee told Mitchell’s investigators that Clemens’s performance showed “remarkable improvement” after the injections.
On June 10, 1998, Clemens was 6-6 with a 3.27 earned run average. He finished the season going 14-0 with a 2.29 E.R.A.
In Clemens’s report, he explains that his pitching improvement was because of his recovery from an injury in early April. He says he was “still hampered” and “pitching erratically” through his May 18 start, but on May 23, the report says, Clemens was “back on track, with strikeouts on the rise.”
The Clemens report provides monthly breakdowns of his earned run average from 1999 to 2007. An analysis of his monthly E.R.A. in 1998 shows a high of 4.06 in June, followed by a July E.R.A. of 1.78, 0.90 in August and 2.73 in September.