The Clemens-McNamee case gets even more pathetic

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You know you’ve done something wrong in this world when a guy who is famous for being (1) an admitted liar; (2) an admitted drug dealer; and (3) who was once implicated in an alleged date-rape drug incident (and lied to police about it) sues YOU for defamation of character . . . and HAS THE STRONGER CASE!

Lawyers for Roger Clemens filed a motion to dismiss a defamation lawsuit by Brian McNamee, on the grounds that Clemens and his representatives weren’t serious when they accused the former trainer of trying to shake down the seven-time Cy Young Award winner.

Clemens, lawyer Rusty Hardin and others also weren’t serious when they questioned McNamee’s mental state, wrote attorney Joe Roden in the motion filed in federal court in Brooklyn, according to a report Thursday in the New York Daily News.

“They are part of the public battle of words between the two camps, and in no way suggest to the average reader that McNamee is actually mentally unfit,” Roden wrote.

THAT’S the defense? “We didn’t really mean it! It was all P.R. stuff!”  Really?!

How about a simple filing that says “Mr. McNamee, who has been shown to be a pretty big slime ball in the past few years, cannot possibly say to this court that his reputation has been damaged as a result of all of this.  Because you have no case if you have no damages, the lawsuit should be dismissed.”  Fine, pay the lawyers extra to make it sound fancy, but that’s what Clemens should be saying.

Of course, Clemens hasn’t done a single thing he should have done since the Mitchell Report came out. If he had simply shut up about it all, he may be someone’s pitching coach right now.  But between his ham-fisted P.R. offensive and his ill-advised defamation suit — which revealed to the world that he was messing around on his wife with a severly damaged country music star, possibly while she was underage — he has done more to make himself look like a slimeball than Brian McNammee ever could.

Mark McGwire has a job. Andy Pettitte was just in a World Series parade. Roger Clemens can’t show himself in public and is getting sued by a lying drug dealer for having his good name besmirched.  And he’s losing!

Great moves, Rocket!

Royals pay tribute to late Yordano Ventura during spring training opener

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 12: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on August 12, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.

Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).

A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.

The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:

A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.

Gerrit Cole named Pirates’ Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photograph during MLB spring training photo day on February 19, 2017 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.

The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.

Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.