Watson not considering Clemens for U.S. roster for Beijing Games
NEW YORK -- Roger Clemens isn't welcome on the U.S. Olympic baseball team.
"From my standpoint, we don't need that type of distraction," Watson said.
In addition to his duties as vice president of on-field operations for Major League Baseball, Watson is general manager of professional baseball operations for USA Baseball and works to select manager Davey Johnson's roster.
"I have not talked to the commissioner. I have not talked to [MLB chief operating officer] Bob DuPuy, nor have I talked to his agent, but I just think the distraction that he's carrying right now, from my standpoint, we don't need that," Watson said.
A seven-time Cy Young Award winner, Clemens was accused by his former trainer, Brian McNamee, of using performance-enhancing drugs in 1998, 2000 and 2001, before players and owners agreed to ban them. Clemens repeatedly denied the accusations and filed a defamation suit against McNamee.
In November, a month before the Mitchell report was released, Clemens' agent, Randy Hendricks, said pitching in the Olympics was "something to consider." Hendricks said he had discussed it in general terms with Clemens.
Clemens played for the U.S. team in the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006. He went 6-6 with a 4.18 ERA for the Yankees last season, and the 354-game winner hasn't said whether he wants to play in 2008.
"The other thing, too you've got to remember his last three or four outings, he had to take injections in his elbow. He had to take injections in his groin area. He wasn't the healthiest guy on the team," Watson said. "So there's some young guys who are throwing the ball well, and I think we could put together 12 pitchers, sadly to say, that would be throwing better than he was at the end of the year last year."
At the U.S. Olympic team media summit last month, Watson was quoted as saying Clemens wasn't "on my radar screen" because of his performance at the end of last season. On Wednesday, however, Watson said "distraction" was an issue, too.
Last week, the Daily News reported Clemens had a decade-long relationship with country star Mindy McCready that began when she was 15 and an aspiring singer. The newspaper also linked the seven-time Cy Young Award winner to former Manhattan bartender Angela Moyer and Paulette Dean Daly, a former wife of champion golfer John Daly.
Clemens apologized Monday for unspecified mistakes in his personal life and denied having an affair with a 15-year-old.
Players not on 25-man major league rosters are eligible for consideration for Olympic baseball teams. Baseball was dropped for the 2012 London Games but is attempting to gain reinstatement for 2016.
Hendricks did not return an e-mail seeking comment Wednesday.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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