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.

Must-Click Link: “Skunk in the Outfield”

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Sam Miller of ESPN has an amazingly fantastic story today. It’s about a high school tournament baseball game in Rhode Island in 2006. It’s not your typical game story or oral history or look-to-the-past-to-see-the-future kind of thing. The only nod to such conventionality is mention of the fact that former Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland played in the game. That’s mostly a footnote.

No, the article is about a trick play — “skunk in the outfield” — concocted by one of the coaches. About how it played out and what went into it before, during and after it happened. Along the way Miller talks about the nature of trick plays and offers a good three dozen amazing insights into the psychology of young baseball players and the strategy of baseball as it unfolds in real time.

Each of these observations could anchor its own story but here they form a grand mosaic. And that’s only mild hyperbole, if in fact it’s hyperbole at all. Indeed, most treatments of such a play would be some video clip with a “wow, look what happened here!” sort of couching. Miller gives a more than ten-year-old trick play an epic treatment that is every bit as enlightening as it is entertaining.

Set some time aside to read this today.

Rubby De La Rosa to undergo a second Tommy John Surgery

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This is unfortunate: Diamondbacks reliever Rubby De La Rosa will undergo Tommy John surgery. This will be the second Tommy John procedure of his career, the first coming back in 2011.

De La Rosa has had elbow  issues for his entire career. Last year his UCL was barking again and he underwent stem cell therapy to try to avoid a second surgery, but it obviously hasn’t worked out. He’s pitched in only nine games this year, allowing four earned runs in seven and two-thirds innings, striking out 12.

I first saw De La Rosa in spring training in 2011. I thought his stuff was pretty phenomenal and figured he’d be a good one. Great stuff is often a function of heavy strain on an elbow, however, and pitchers breaking is, unfortunately, the rule in baseball far more than the exception.

He’ll miss a year at least. We likely won’t see him until spring of 2019, most likely on a minor league deal.