Rusty Hardin

Prosecutors are worried about Roger Clemens’ lawyer

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The Roger Clemens prosecutors are asking the judge to grill Clemens to make sure he’s aware that his attorney — Rusty Hardin — may have a conflict of interest in that Hardin briefly represented Andy Pettitte back when the Mitchell Report came out.  My assumption is that the prosecutors are trying to make sure that, if they get a conviction, Clemens can’t later appeal on the ground that his lawyer was unable to effectively cross-examine Pettitte, who will likely be a major witness against him at trial.

I’m fairly certain that Clemens is well-aware of this potential conflict, what with the fact that Brian McNamee’s lawyer had tried to disqualify Hardin from representing Clemens in the defamation case down in Texas nearly three years ago.  Motions were filed and a decision issued with the judge saying that there was no problem with Hardin cross-examining Pettitte. At least as long as Pettitte himself didn’t object to it.  It’s Pettitte’s confidences with Hardin that would potentially be at risk, after all. He’s the one who would be damaged the most.  And to date he hasn’t cared.

And probably for good reason:  Hardin represented Pettitte for something like four whole days around the time the Mitchell Report was released, during which only a couple of conversations were had.  Pettitte didn’t like Hardin’s strategy so he left him, hired competent counsel and hasn’t really looked back.  Since then, Pettitte has testified in depositions and in Congressional hearings, all of which Hardin was part of.  Really, if there is anything left unexplored in the Pettitte-Hardin relationship, it’s not worth exploring.

And now, unlike the player who stuck with Hardin, the biggest problem that Andy Pettitte has is deciding whether to accept an eight figure deal to play baseball in 2011 or to stay home in his mansion with his adoring family.

Frankly, I imagine he’s just fine with the present circumstances.

Mets leaning on Jay Bruce, Neil Walker as Lucas Duda insurance

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 12:  Pinch hitter Lucas Duda #21 of the New York Mets walks back to the dugout after striking out for the first out of the ninth inning against Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  The Dodgers won 5-0.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.

Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”

Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”

The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.

Jason Kipnis diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates after scoring a run on a wild pitch thrown by Jon Lester #34 of the Chicago Cubs (not pictured) during the fifth inning in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.

There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.

Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.