Torre won't pick sides between Clemens, McNamee

Updated: January 2, 2008, 8:05 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Joe Torre won't pick sides between Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee, the former New York Yankees strength coach who accused the Rocket of using performance-enhancing drugs.

"You're not going to get me in that jackpot," the former Yankees manager said Wednesday. "I'd rather just stay away from making any in-depth comment about the whole steroid-HGH thing."

I'm very close to Roger. When I say close to him, he was a great competitor for me. Andy the same way. And I certainly know they're two proud individuals that only like to do the right thing. I'd just like to leave it at that.

--Joe Torre

Torre, who managed Clemens for six seasons, spoke during a Golf Channel conference call ahead of the Mercedes-Benz Championship in Kapalua, Hawaii, where he will be honorary starter.

In George Mitchell's report last month on performance-enhancing drugs in baseball, McNamee claimed Clemens used steroids and Human Growth Hormone and accused Andy Pettitte of using HGH. Clemens denied the charge, while Pettitte admitted using HGH on two occasions while rehabbing an injury.

"I'm very close to Roger. When I say close to him, he was a great competitor for me. Andy the same way. And I certainly know they're two proud individuals that only like to do the right thing," Torre said. "I'd just like to leave it at that."

Torre managed the Yankees for 12 seasons, winning the World Series four times in his first five years, before leaving at the end of last season and becoming manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

A total of 20 current and former Yankees were identified in Mitchell's report. Torre said the high total likely was due to two of Mitchell's primary sources being from the New York area: McNamee and former Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski.

"It made it look like a lopsided report," Torre said. "Plus, don't forget, the Yankees have so many people coming through there on a year-to-year basis. We changed over quite often, whether it would be a player for the month of May, a player for the month of September. But I think the big part of it was the access, where these two people were both based in New York."

Torre suspects use may have been more widespread.

"When you're talking about 80 players that supposedly were using one thing or another, to me it may be an incomplete report," he said. "The only thing I do know is that the most important thing for us in baseball is to make sure that when we take the field, that the fans trust us. So whatever we have to do to make that happen, I think that's important."

Clemens, who issued a video denial of McNamee's accusations, is due to appear on CBS's "60 Minutes" on Sunday and hold a news conference the following day in the Houston area.

Torre, who spends much of the offseason in Hawaii, joked about his golf game, calling it "ugly." The former catcher, who limped when he made trips to the mound last season, had a knee replaced last month.

"The knee is four weeks old today and it's OK," he said. "It's just a little achy, that's all."


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press