Andy Pettitte testifies that Clemens spoke of his drug use

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UPDATE:  Well, it was nice while it lasted, but Pettitte’s testimony just became pretty useless.

9:12 AM: There were no surprises in Andy Pettitte’s testimony at the Roger Clemens trial yesterday. Now it’s just a matter of whether the jury believes the 1999 Roger Clemens or the 2005 Roger Clemens to whom Pettitte spoke:

Without emotion, as if he were facing a particularly tough batter, Pettitte said that Clemens admitted to him in 1999 or 2000 that he had used human growth hormone, which is now banned by baseball.

“Roger had mentioned to me that he had taken H.G.H. and that it could help with recovery,” Pettitte said. “You know, that’s all I really remember about the conversation.”

And, Pettitte said without flinching, that Clemens accused him in 2005 of remembering that conversation inaccurately. Clemens said it was his wife, not him, who had used H.G.H.

“Obviously, I was a little flustered because I thought that he had told me he did,” Pettitte said. “My reaction after that was, well, no good asking him or talking to him about this now, and I just walked out, end of the conversation.” …

That’s basically the crux of it all. That and a little bit of Pettitte’s own history with HGH and whether the jury will assume that, due to their closeness and the company they kept, they were both doing the same stuff.

It’s easy to convince yourself, based on what we all know what was going on in 2005, that Clemens changed his story to Pettitte because he was aware — based on the famous Rafael Palmiero/Mark McGwire hearings — that others would be called on to talk about drug use and he wanted to start laying the groundwork for denials.  It’s just as easy to say “man, how dumb would Clemens be to change his story in 2005 when, if he was really using, others would be in a position to say so.” Now, I think Clemens is dumb, actually, but the jury isn’t gonna get to hear about a lot of that stuff, so it may not matter here.

Which is another way to say that it’s hard to say what the jury will take away from Pettitte’s testimony.  And makes me continue to believe that the only thing that matters in this case is what Brian McNamee says, how he says it and what the jury thinks of it.

Nick Williams has been trying to sell Jake Arrieta on the Phillies

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CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports that Phillies outfielder Nick Williams has been working out daily with free agent starter Jake Arrieta in Austin. The right-hander, who won the 2015 National League Cy Young Award, still remains teamless with spring training less than a month away. Williams has been trying to sell Arrieta on joining the Phillies.

Williams said of Arrieta, “He loves it here [Austin]. He has told me he likes working with young guys. I’m like, ‘All right, come on up.’ But I’m not writing the check. I don’t know what he wants. I don’t really dig into that because I’m not really in his position.”

On GM Matt Klentak’s hunt for pitching help, new manager Gabe Kapler said, “The pursuit is very real. I have a lot of trust that we’ll either go in [to spring training] with a new toy or we will pass on the opportunity because we’re better off giving this collection of pitchers a really healthy look because we thought that we could go acquire that piece a little bit later on this season or in the offseason next year.”

Arrieta, who turns 32 years old in March, went 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA and a 163/55 K/BB ratio in 168 1/3 innings last season with the Cubs. The Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers have been linked to Arrieta this month.

Presently, the Phillies’ starting rotation figures to include Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, and Vince Velasquez along with some combination of Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively, Zach Eflin, Mark Leiter, and Jake Thompson. Arrieta would certainly amount to a big upgrade in the starting rotation and could make the Phillies a more attractive landing spot for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, who become free agents after the 2018 campaign. The Phillies are expected to be in the mix for either or both players.