White Sox

Roger Clemens' wife is a liar too, apparently

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Roger Clemens' wife is a liar too, apparently

From Comcast SportsNet
WASHINGTON (AP) -- In their final attempt to convince jurors that Roger Clemens lied to Congress, prosecutors basically called his wife a liar, too. Prosecutor Courtney Saleski used closing arguments to challenge Debbie Clemens' version of how and when she got a shot of human growth hormone and tried to bolster government witness Andy Pettitte in the process -- just before the case went to the jury. In his closing, Clemens' lawyer Rusty Hardin characterized the case as "a horrible, horrible overreach by the government and everyone involved" and hammered away at the government's evidence. Jurors, who met for only 15 minutes Tuesday, resume deliberations Wednesday afternoon. Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winning pitcher, is charged with perjury, making false statements and obstructing Congress when he denied under oath in 2008 that he took steroids or HGH. The government's chief witness, Clemens' longtime strength coach Brian McNamee, said he injected Clemens with steroids in 1998, 2000 and 2001 and with HGH in 2000. Debbie Clemens testified last week that she received a shot of HGH from McNamee, without Roger Clemens' knowledge. McNamee had testified that Roger Clemens was present for the shot, and one of the false statements Clemens is alleged to have made is that his wife was injected without his prior knowledge or approval. Saleski called Debbie Clemens' version "not true" and argued that her account went against her basic nature. Saleski said Debbie Clemens lists three rules on her website: Plan ahead, be practical and use common sense -- so one wouldn't expect her to take the "reckless" step of taking a "risky injection of a prescription drug" on her own. "The truth is that Roger Clemens was there, as Brian McNamee told you," Saleski insisted. McNamee had testified that Debbie Clemens looked at her husband and said, "I can't believe you're going to let him do this to me," and Clemens responded: "He injects me. Why can't he inject you?" Saleski tried to connect the story to Pettitte, who testified last month that Clemens told him in 1999 or 2000 he had used HGH -- only to agree under cross-examination that there was a "5050" chance he misunderstood his former teammate. Pettitte had told congressional investigators that when he brought up Clemens' admission a few years ago, Clemens had said: "I never told you that. ... I told you that Debbie used HGH." Saleski tried to convince jurors that Roger and Debbie Clemens changed the date of her injection from 2003 to 2000 because if it happened in 2003, then Roger Clemens' explanation back in 2000 to Pettitte that he had been talking about his wife doesn't make any sense. "They have to back this date up," Saleski said. "Andy Pettitte got this right" the first time. In a 2008 deposition, Clemens said of the injection, "The year, I'm going to say 2003 possibly." Later changing the year to 2000, the prosecutor claimed, "is one of Roger Clemens' cover stories." Saleski said Clemens gambled when he told Congress he didn't take performance-enhancing drugs. "He threw sand in their eyes," she said. "He obstructed their investigation. He stole the truth from them." Saleski acknowledged that Clemens was a great pitcher with a strong work ethic and that "we know that you do not want to find Roger Clemens guilty. Nobody wants to believe he did this." But she argued the evidence shows that he lied to Congress. Jurors will have to digest a trial that includes 26 days of testimony by 46 witnesses. They were provided with a complex verdict sheet that includes 13 Clemens' statements that are alleged to have obstructed Congress. Hardin voiced outrage that the jury was being asked to make Clemens a convicted felon over some of the statements -- including whether the pitcher was at teammate Jose Canseco's house on the day of a pool party in June 1998, an event the government called a "benchmark" days before McNamee's first injection of Clemens. McNamee said he saw Clemens talking with Canseco, who jurors heard was a steroids user. "This is outrageous!" yelled Hardin, his face reddening as he pounded the podium three times. Clemens said at his deposition that he wasn't at Canseco's house on the day of the party, but evidence at the trial showed that he was. U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton has said he has some concerns as to whether the party is relevant to the case. Either way, Hardin said some of Clemens' wayward statements to Congress simply came from a man trying his best to remember and shouldn't be a reason to return a guilty verdict. "He's a Cy Young baseball player," Hardin said. "Not a Cy Young witness. ... He's a human being just like everyone else in here." "This man's reputation has been totally ruined," he added. "We've thrown this man's reputation to the dogs." After Hardin's presentation, Clemens and Hardin embraced for several seconds; Clemens patted the lawyer's back four times. Clemens' lawyer Michael Attanasio hugged Debbie Clemens a few feet away. Clemens, 49, walked down the hallway with his four sons in tow, one of the sons draping his arm around his father.

Reynaldo Lopez is changing his place in the White Sox rebuild: 'When I'm on the mound, I'm the best and I don't care about the rest'

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USA TODAY

Reynaldo Lopez is changing his place in the White Sox rebuild: 'When I'm on the mound, I'm the best and I don't care about the rest'

Rebuilds are full of surprises.

Fans can pencil in any names they want into their 2020 lineups, but there’s almost no one who’s going to have a 100-percent success rate when it comes to predicting exactly what the next contending White Sox team will look like.

Reynaldo Lopez carried plenty of hype when he was acquired from the Washington Nationals in the Adam Eaton deal prior following the 2016 season. He had a high prospect ranking before he was called up last summer. He hasn’t materialized out of nowhere.

But with names like Lucas Giolito, Michael Kopech, Alec Hansen, Carlos Rodon and others to compete with for one of those coveted rotation spots of the future, was anyone going to use the term “ace” to describe Lopez?

Well, in this rebuilding season’s most pleasant surprise for the White Sox and their fans, that’s exactly what Lopez has been. He’s been hands down the team’s best starting pitcher, and he’s making the case that he shouldn’t be considered an ancillary piece in this rebuilding process but a featured one.

He might not be getting the attention that others are. But he’s doing the most with his opportunity of being at the big league level right now. In the end, as long as you’re getting batters out, who cares how much attention you get?

“It’s not about what people say or what they are talking about,” Lopez said through a translator. “It’s about the confidence I have in myself, and I have plenty of confidence in myself. For me, I’m the best. I’m not saying the other guys are not. I’m just saying that’s the confidence I have. When I’m on the mound, I’m the best and I don’t care about the rest.”

Sunday marked the best start of Lopez’s young career, so said the pitcher himself. He was terrific in shutting down the visiting Texas Rangers, holding them to just two hits over eight scoreless innings.

It was one heck of a bounce-back performance considering what happened last time out, when he was roughed up for six runs in just two innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The difference? His attitude, his focus, his intensity, his conviction.

“I just changed my attitude in the game,” Lopez said. “I was more positive today than I was in my last outing and that was one of my biggest differences.”

“I do think he came out a little bit more focused, to be honest,” manager Rick Renteria said. “The intensity level was a little higher today. I think he threw the first couple pitches 97, 98 miles an hour, where his last outing they were at 93, 94. There wasn’t a whole lot of commitment or conviction to his pitches (against the Pirates). I think, as we talked after the last outing, (pitching coach Don Cooper) spoke to him a little about making sure he brought that intensity that he has the ability to do, to bring it from Pitch 1 and he did today.”

Renteria liked it all, and he saw something different in his pitcher when he went out to talk to him with two outs in the eighth. Lopez issued a two-out walk, and Renteria considered lifting Lopez from the game.

Lopez made sure his manager wouldn’t pull the plug on this outing.

“I hid the baseball in my glove because I didn’t want to leave the game,” Lopez said. “I asked me, ‘How are you? Are you good?’ And I told him, ‘Yes, I’m good.’ Then he asked me again, ‘Do you think you are able to get him out?’ And I said yes, ‘This is my game, and I’m going to finish it.’”

What did Lopez do with his extra life? He finished it all right, blowing Shin-Soo Choo away with a 96-mile-an-hour fastball. Then he showed as much emotion as he’s ever shown on a major league field. He earned that celebration.

“When you see your manager come out and you’ve already gone through most of your game in terms of what you might think you have in number of pitches available to you, and you reiterate that you want to finish a particular batter because you want to get out of that inning, and you do it, it's an accomplishment,” Renteria said. “It's a big accomplishment. For him, pretty good hitter. He battled him and he was able to get out of that inning and complete a very, very strong eight-inning outing.”

It’s the kind of exclamation point on a dominant afternoon that could stir some big plans in White Sox fans always dreaming of the future. What Lopez has done this season has been a strong case for a spot in that future rotation and a spot at the front of it, at that. Following Sunday’s gem, Lopez owns a 2.98 ERA with at least six strikeouts in four of his nine starts.

There’s a lot of development and a lot of time left before the White Sox contention window opens. But Lopez pitching like this offers a glimpse into the crystal ball, a look at what could be for an organization that’s acquired so much talent over the last two years.

You might not have seen it coming like this, but the future arriving in the form of Lopez is a sign that brighter days are ahead on the South Side.

96 Days to Kickoff: Jacobs

96 Days to Kickoff: Jacobs

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O'Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting July 30, we'll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

School: Jacobs

Head coach: Bill Mitz

Assistant coaches: Bubba Smith, Mike Warren, Brian Zimmerman, JM Foote, Ryan Arndt and Bob Mackey

How they fared in 2017: 6-4 (5-3 Fox Valley Conference). Jacobs made the Class 7A playoff field. The Golden Eagles lost to Lincoln-Way West in opening round action. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 Hampshire 

Aug. 31 @ Huntley 

Sept. 7 Dundee-Crown 

Sept. 14 @ McHenry 

Sept. 21 Neuqua Valley 

Sept. 28 Prairie Ridge 

Oct. 5 @ Cary-Grove 

Oct. 12 Crystal Lake South 

Oct. 19 @ Crystal Lake Central

Biggest storyline: Can the Golden Eagles move up in the Fox Valley Conference pecking order in 2018?

Names to watch this season: OT Joacheim Price and OL Nick Zonta

Biggest holes to fill: The Golden Eagles will need to replace its entire starting linebacker group from a season ago.

EDGY's Early Take: Year in and year out, Jacobs is always a factor in the rugged Fox Valley Conference (seven playoff appearances in the last eight years). The Golden Eagles return some starters in several key spots. If the underclassmen group can step up this summer, look for Jacobs to challenge for the FVC conference title and a higher seed in 7A come IHSA playoff time.