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Toronto police assist in Clemens doping probe

Toronto Police have turned over documents removed from Toronto Blue Jays offices to U.S. authorities in connection with the perjury case against seven-time Cy Young winning pitcher Roger Clemens.

Two Toronto officers executed the search in June, an Associated Press report said, and assisted the U.S. Justice Department by forwarding two boxes they obtained, according to Toronto police spokesman Constable Tony Vella. The police spokesman would not say whether the documents were medical records.

The Blue Jays are maintaining silence on the Clemens matter. Blue Jays physician Dr. Ron Taylor said through an associate "he did not know under what circumstances the documents were obtained and will make no comments," while Blue Jays spokesman Jay Stenhouse said the club will not comment "about matters pending before courts, other than to confirm that it is our policy to comply with all valid legal process."

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Jays president Paul Beeston did not reply to a phone message seeking his comment.

In August, Clemens pleaded not guilty in the United States to charges of lying to Congress about whether he used steroids or human growth hormone. Federal prosecutors didn't believe Clemens's testimony to Congress. They subsequently charged the seven-time Cy Young Award winner with making false statements, perjury and obstruction of Congress.

Two of Clemens's Cy Young Awards were won in Toronto, where be played the 1997 and 1998 seasons for about $8.5-million (U.S.) each year.

Most of the accusations against Clemens are based on the word of Brian McNamee, once the Blue Jays' strength and conditioning coach. McNamee joined the Toronto club in 1998. Before that, McNamee had worked at the U.S. national training centre and with the New York City police.

At Clemens's arraignment last week, government lawyer Steven Durham said there was "voluminous" scientific evidence that needed to be reviewed before the trial could start, tentatively in April. That may include the syringes McNamee alleges he used to inject the pitcher with drugs. It might also include information from the documents received from the Blue Jays.

A report on the New York Daily News website says Clemens suffered an infection on his buttocks in July of 1998 while with the Blue Jays. McNamee said that the abscess was the result of an injection of the anabolic steroid Winstrol - the body-building steroid that brought down Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson - that McNamee had given Clemens that summer. The Blue Jays medical staff ordered an MRI of the injury and prescribed an antibiotic for it, the Daily News site reported.

Clemens later testified before a congressional committee that the abscess was caused by injections of Vitamin B12 and the local anesthetic lidocaine that he said were given to him by team staff, including McNamee. The trainer subsequently denied having injected B12 or having heard of lidocaine before January of 2008.

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Clemens faces three counts of making false statements, two counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of Congress. The 48-year-old Clemens says he will fight the charges.

If convicted, he could face up to 30 years in prison and a $1.5-million fine, though under U.S. sentencing guidelines, he probably would get no more than 15 to 21 months in prison.

Any conviction, however, would mean damage his reputation, future earnings and chances of election to baseball's Hall of Fame.

Clemens was mentioned repeatedly in the Mitchell Report - the damning breakdown of the sport's steroid problem, released in 2007. Two months later, in front of a Congress House committee, Clemens said: "Let me be clear. I have never taken steroids or HGH."

McNamee refuted that in his own testimony. He said Clemens used both steroids and HGH. McNamee also worked with Clemens as a trainer when he was with the New York Yankees.

Former teammate Andy Pettitte also told congressional investigators that Clemens told him he had used HGH. Clemens said Pettitte "misremembers" the conversation.

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Clemens ranks ninth on the career list with 354 victories and was an 11-time all-star. During a 23-year career that ended in 2007, he played for the Boston Red Sox, the Blue Jays, the Yankees and the Houston Astros.

When he left Boston and joined Toronto in 1997, Boston's general manager at the time, Dan Duquette, said Clemens was in the "twilight" of his career, yet four of his seven Cy Young-winning seasons came after he left Boston.

With a report from The Associated Press

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About the Author
Sports reporter

James Christie written sports for the Globe on staff since 1974, covering almost all beats and interviewed the big names from Joe DiMaggio, to Muhammad Ali, to Jim Brown to Wayne Gretzky. Also covered the 10 worst years in Toronto Maple Leafs hockey history. More

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