“You should be rewarding Roger Clemens, not prosecuting him”

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If you looked at that headline and guessed “things Roger Clemens’ lawyer said during closing arguments today,” well, you’re correct. Which, while a little over the top, isn’t terribly surprising. The defense attorney is always going to paint his client as virtuous and the opposition as evil.

Which is why it was rather strange to hear the prosecutor, in his closing argument, kind of going after Andy Pettitte, basically calling him a liar despite the fact that Pettitte was a prosecution witness.  And boy, that does seem like a long time ago when that happened, doesn’t it?

Ken Davidoff has all of the details from the closings. As expected, it was a lot of the defense calling Brian McNamee a liar and the prosecution telling the jury to use their common sense. Which is what it all boils down to: do they ignore McNamee’s clear credibility problems and convict Clemens because Occam’s Razor suggests that, yes, he did take PEDs, or do they ignore the Occam’s Razor explanation and acquit because the credibility of the person suggesting it is fatally flawed?

And when they do it, are they going to remember to put their finger on the scale in favor of the defense because of the prosecutor’s burden of proof?

We’ll likely find out this week, as the jury gets the case starting today.

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.