The Clemens prosecutors continue to bungle their case

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Look, I don’t want someone coming into my mother’s basement to tell me how to do my job, so I’m sure the prosecutors in the Roger Clemens case don’t want to hear my armchair litigating either. But, hey, it’s kinda my thing, so I’m gonna do it anyway. And today’s theme: dudes, what are you thinking?

Yesterday the prosecutors brought forth yet another witness who harms their own case. The witness was Yankees GM Brian Cashman.  The upshot of Cashman’s testimony: Roger Clemens was an amazing athlete with drive and determination, Brian McNamee was someone the New York Yankees did not like and did not trust and, oh, we have no evidence whatsoever that Roger Clemens ever did steroids of any kind.

Cashman specifically noted that, yes, players often got B-vitamin injections that the club didn’t know about or document, which comports totally with Clemens’ defense that any DNA of his on Brian McNamee’s syringes was the result of such vitamin injections. He also talked about how no one got along with Brian McNamee, how McNamee overstepped his bounds all the time and made allusions to unsavory incidents in which McNamee was involved, though he couldn’t elaborate on them due to the judge barring such testimony. Things like that Florida date rape drug incident and some other unseemliness.

The net effect: Roger Clemens is awesome — at the end he even jovially took Rusty Hardin’s bait when asked if the Yankees could use “a 50 year-old pitcher who can still throw 90” by smiling and saying “maybe” — and Brian McNamee is an unstrustworthy nogoodnik.  This is NOT what you do when your entire case depends on (a) the jury hearing and believing Brian McNamee; and (b) believing that Roger Clemens is a liar.

Though I suppose there was one instance in which Cashman’s own reliability came into play, which could mitigate all of this.  When asked how many world championships the Yankees have won during his tenure as general manager, Cashman said five when, in reality, it’s just four. Bob Watson was the GM for the 1996 title.

Gonna guess that doesn’t help the prosecution that much.

Report: Braves extend Kurt Suzuki

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Kurt Suzuki will wear a Braves’ uniform through the 2018 season after signing a one-year, $3.5 million extension with the club on Saturday, per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. Rosenthal adds that the two had been in talks for weeks and Suzuki made it clear that he wanted to remain in Atlanta for the foreseeable future. The team has yet to announce the extension.

Suzuki, 33, initially signed a one-year contract with the Braves back in January. The veteran backstop stepped into a backup role behind starting catcher Tyler Flowers, but still found a way to impress at the plate with a .271/.343/.525 batting line, career-best 18 home runs and an .868 OPS through 287 PA. According to FanGraphs, Suzuki’s 2.2 fWAR makes 2017 his most valuable season since his run with the 2009 Athletics.

It’s a prudent move for the Braves, who would have lost one of their most dynamic second-half hitters to the free agent market this offseason. Entering Saturday, Suzuki is second only to Freddie Freeman with 11 homers and 1.4 fWAR since the All-Star break. His stunning comeback also confirmed the team’s decision to look outside the organization for a backup catcher, rather than turning to fellow veteran Anthony Recker behind the plate.

“On a personal level, this season exceeded my expectations,” Suzuki told reporters on Wednesday. “It’s just one of those things I can’t explain. I put a lot of work in and really didn’t have a job until late January. I got an opportunity here and took advantage of it. It was definitely a good fit.”

Mikie Mahtook is likely done for the season

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Tigers’ outfielder Mikie Mahtook is unlikely to play again this season, club manager Brad Ausmus announced Saturday. Mahtook was diagnosed with a Grade 2 left groin strain following Friday’s series opener against the Twins, when he appeared to injure himself after chasing down Byron Buxton‘s two-RBI double in the fourth.

This is the second time Mahtook has sustained a groin injury over the past month. The 27-year-old exited Friday’s game with a .276/.330/.457 batting line, 12 home runs and a .787 OPS through 379 plate appearances with the team.

With the Tigers out of contention, there’s no reason to trot out Mahtook for the remaining eight games of the regular season. The club has yet to specify a timetable for his return, but there’s no reason to believe he won’t be in fine shape to compete for a starting role next spring.