Report: McNamee told feds Clemens had abscess in '98

Updated: January 14, 2008, 5:12 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Brian McNamee told federal law enforcement officials that Roger Clemens developed an abscess on his buttocks around the time that McNamee said he was giving him steroid injections in 1998, a lawyer with knowledge of details of the case told The New York Times.

But three members of the Toronto Blue Jays organization that season, including two trainers, said they did not recall Clemens having an abscess in 1998, the newspaper reported. And Rusty Hardin, the attorney for Clemens, said McNamee made the same assertion to federal investigators -- and that the two trainers also told them they did not recall Clemens having an abscess.

Clemens, who was named in former Sen. George Mitchell’s report on performance-enhancing drugs in baseball as having been injected with steroids by McNamee, has said he did not take any performance enhancing drugs. The seven-time Cy Young Award winner has said that he received injections from McNamee, who was his strength trainer with the Blue Jays and New York Yankees but that they were vitamin B-12 or the pain killer lidocaine.

While any injection can lead to an abscess, an anti-doping expert said steroid injections are more likely to trigger abscesses, according to the Times.

"It is far less likely that any injection of vitamin B12 or lidocaine, which is usually not injected deep into the body, would have created an abscess," said Dr. Gary I. Wadler, a member of the World Anti-Doping Agency, according to the Times. "Steroid users tend to repetitively inject the drug deep into the muscle and this has been associated with the development of sterile abscess."

McNamee’s lead counsel, Earl Ward, told the Times that McNamee believes the treatment of the abscess was noted in Clemens’s medical or training records. He said that McNamee would be willing to testify under oath about the abscess when he is scheduled to appear before a congressional committee on Feb. 13.

Clemens and fellow Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte have also been asked to testify on that day before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Pettitte, who also used McNamee as a strength trainer, was named in the Mitchell report and has admitted using human growth hormone to recover from an injury.

The Times reported that in interviews, former Blue Jays trainer Tom Craig, former team general manager Gord Ash and team physician Dr. Ron Taylor all said they did not remember Clemens being treated for an abscess. Taylor said he believed if Clemens had been treated, it would have been noted in Clemens' medical records.

Hardin said Craig and Scott Shannon, the other team trainer in 1998, told his investigators that they did not recall Clemens being treated for an abscess, according to the Times.

The abscess is not mentioned in the Mitchell report.