Rusty Hardin: big rich and famous people just can’t catch a break in this country

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Opening statements began in the Roger Clemens trial this morning.

The government led with those syringes that Brian McNamee kept and will apparently hang their case on them. This is not terribly surprising, though it is not without risk. The lab analysis will say what the lab analysis says on those things — the prosecutors say it will show Clemens DNA + PEDs — but the fact is that McNamee basically kept them in a shoebox under his bed next to stale pizza crusts for a few years, so they will be subject to attack on chain-of-custody and integrity grounds. Add that to jurors’ increasing (and annoying) skepticism of forensic evidence that doesn’t meet “CSI: Whereverthehell” standards, and it could be a hard case for the prosecution to make.

Meanwhile, Clemens’ lawyer, Rusty Hardin, appears to have his own uphill climb in front of him:

Clemens attorney Rusty Hardin told the jury that the government is “horribly wrong” in charging his client with perjury, false statements and obstruction of Congress … “There was rush to judgment on Roger that has made it impossible for him to be fairly heard until he got here … It’s a fact of life that sometimes when people reach the mountain, there is an unwillingness to give them equal consideration when people come down on them,” Hardin said. “And that’s what happened with Roger.”

Can’t argue with that. Rich, powerful and famous people have been getting an unfair shake in this Republic since time immemorial.  It’s a tragedy, really.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to minor-league deal

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The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.

Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.

Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.