Ex-Red Sox GM who oversaw Clemens' departure mum on report

Updated: December 15, 2007, 5:21 PM ET
By Jerry Crasnick | ESPN.com

Dan Duquette was vilified by many after suggesting that star pitcher Roger Clemens was entering the "twilight of his career" when he left the Boston Red Sox in 1996.

But in the wake of Thursday's release of the Mitchell report -- which includes nine pages of allegations linking Clemens' to use of performance-enhancing drugs -- Duquette is not taking the opportunity to proclaim himself vindicated.

Duquette, Boston's general manager during Clemens' emotional departure from the Red Sox 11 years ago, declined to address Clemens' alleged use of steroids or any other aspect of former U.S. Senator George Mitchell's 409-page report.

"I'm not commenting on that,'' Duquette said during a brief phone conversation on Saturday. "It's not appropriate for me to do.''

Clemens posted a 192-111 record and won three Cy Young Awards with the Red Sox before signing a three-year, $24.75 million contract with the Toronto Blue Jays in December 1996. He had some harsh comments for Duquette on his way out of town, observing that the Boston GM "never really wanted me back.''

Clemens posted a 40-39 record in his final four seasons with the Red Sox before reviving his career over the next decade. He posted back-to-back 20-win seasons for Toronto in 1997 and 1998, and won four more Cy Young Awards after age 34.

Clemens is mentioned prominently in the Mitchell report. His former trainer, Brian McNamee, alleges that Clemens took performance-enhancing drugs during the 1998 season in Toronto and in 2000 and 2001 with the Yankees. McNamee told investigators that he injected the drugs into Clemens' buttocks on several occasions.

Rusty Hardin, Clemens' attorney, quickly denied the charges, calling McNamee a "troubled and unreliable witness'' who only came forward after being threatened with a prison term.

Duquette, more than a decade after Clemens' emotionally-charged departure from Boston, declined to address the parting in detail.

"The personnel decisions I made when I was the general manager of the Red Sox were in the best interests of the team and the fans,'' Duquette said.

The Red Sox fired Duquette in 2002, and he currently runs a sports academy in western Massachusetts and serves as director of baseball operations for the Israel Baseball League.

Duquette interviewed for the Pittsburgh Pirates' CEO job this year, but the team filled the position with former Major League Baseball lawyer Frank Coonelly.

Jerry Crasnick is a senior baseball writer for ESPN.com.

Jerry Crasnick | email

ESPN.com MLB Sr. Writer