Brian McNamee on Roger Clemens: “I was pretty much in charge of his body”

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Today, the prosecution in the Roger Clemens case finally, after four weeks of trial, put on their star witness: Brian McNamee. He’s still testifying as this post goes live.

The beef of it all: McNamee testified that he injected Roger Clemens with steroids about eight to 10 times when they both were with the Toronto Blue Jays.  He said Clemens supplied the PEDs, McNamee did the injecting.  In his overall training, however, McNamee was in charge. That quote in the headline was part of his testimony today.

Pfun Pfact: the first time McNamee ever saw steroids was when Jose Canseco, also with the Blue Jays, gave him some syringes wrapped in tin foil. Just thought that was interesting.

Anyway, the key here — that McNamee injected Clemens with what they both knew to be steroids — has been what McNamee has said all along. He is the only witness in this trial who has first-hand evidence of Clemens’ PED use. No one who testified in the Barry Bonds case had similar evidence against Bonds, for that matter.  It’s the fundamental difference between this prosecution and the Bonds prosecution, and the reason why Clemens faces substantially more legal risk than did Bonds, even with the prosecution seemingly stepping on its own feet so many times in the past couple of weeks.

But direct examination — which is what we got today — is only half the story.  McNammee will be cross-examined tomorrow. And, as we have noted many times, there is a lot the defense can fire at him to harm his credibility.  How he holds up to that cross examination will likely determine whether Roger Clemens is convicted or acquitted.

Hyun-Jin Ryu will open season in Dodgers’ rotation

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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts announced on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu will open the regular season in the starting rotation, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports.

Ryu, 30, missed the entire 2015 season and made only one start last season due to shoulder and elbow injuries. The lefty has looked solid in three spring appearances, however, yielding a lone run on five hits and a walk with eight strikeouts in nine innings.

With Scott Kazmir likely to begin the season on the disabled list, that leaves Alex Wood and Brandon McCarthy to battle it out for the fifth spot in the Dodgers’ rotation.

Jorge Soler diagnosed with strained oblique, Opening Day in doubt

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Royals outfielder Jorge Soler has been diagnosed with a strained oblique, making it likely that he begins the regular season on the disabled list, Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star reports.

The Royals acquired Soler from the Cubs in December in exchange for reliever Wade Davis. Over parts of three seasons with the Cubs, Soler hit .258/.328/.434 with 27 home runs and 98 RBI in 765 plate appearances.

When he’s healthy, Soler is expected to find himself in the Royals’ lineup as a right fielder and occasionally as a designated hitter.