Andy Pettitte to testify today at the Roger Clemens trial

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This is a surprise: Andy Pettitte just showed up at the courthouse in Washington and is expected to testify today in the Roger Clemens trial. It was thought that his testimony would come later in the trial.

Two thoughts:

1. This will certainly be good for him and the Yankees, as it gets a big distraction out of the way before he makes his debut with the big club; and

2. I said this once a long time ago, but I don’t think Pettitte’s testimony helps the prosecution that much.  At least if Clemens’ lawyers are smart about his cross examination.  That’s because if you back and look at his congressional deposition, he was pretty darn equivocal about Clemens’ PED use.  He said he never saw Clemens use and never knew for sure that he did. He thought at one time that Clemens said he did, but that he later was told that he was mistaken about that and basically took it at face value. The most they have out of Pettitte with any degree of certainty is that he and Clemens once discussed PEDs in a fairly innocuous way.

Now, Clemens’ lawyers still have to be very careful here. Pettitte is going to likely come off as a nice guy and sympathetic witness, and it would be a major mistake to go after him with any degree of vehemence. But, if they’re subtle, and simply and politely walk Pettitte through his past testimony while adding some helpful “but you weren’t sure, is that right?” and some “but you never saw him take anything, that is your testimony?”  He can actually help Clemens’ case, not hurt it.

Report: MLB likely to unilaterally implement pace of play changes

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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that talks between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players’ Association concerning pace of play changes have stalled, which makes it more likely that commissioner Rob Manfred unilaterally implements the changes he seeks. Those changes include a pitch clock and a restriction on catcher mound visits.

Manfred said, “My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players. But if we can’t get an agreement, we are going to have rule changes in 2018, one way or the other.”

The players have made several suggestions aimed at reducing the length of games, such as amending replay review rules, strictly monitoring down time between innings, and bringing back bullpen carts.

It is believed that MLB is proposing a pitch clock of 20 seconds. If a pitcher takes too long between pitches, he will have a ball added to the count. If the hitter takes too long, then he will have a strike added to the count.