LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Roger Clemens, one of the all-time finest pitchers in baseball, received an apology from a leading U.S. newspaper on Friday for linking him to an court affidavit in a federal doping investigation.
The Los Angeles Times made a front-page apology for its report in October 2006 citing anonymous sources that said Clemens and three other players had been named in the affidavit given by former Arizona Diamondbacks’ reliever Jason Grimsley.
Clemens has denied using performance enhancers, although his alleged steroids use was described over nine pages in Major League Baseball’s Mitchell Report last week into doping.
Grimsley’s affidavit was unsealed on Thursday, 18 months after the document was first released with players’ names blacked out, but those four players were not named.
After the document was unsealed, Times spokesman Stephan Pechdimaldji said: “We regret our report was inaccurate and will run a correction.”
The other players incorrectly named were Andy Pettitte, Jay Gibbons and Brian Roberts.
Players cited by Grimsley in the affidavit as using steroids included former major leaguers Jose Canseco, Lenny Dykstra, Glenallen Hill and Geronimo Berroa.
Clemens’s lawyer said the Los Angeles Times error backed up the pitcher’s insistence that he did not take steroids.
“When this grossly inaccurate story broke in October 2006, Roger said it was untrue and the Los Angeles Times chose not to believe him,” lawyer Rusty Hardin said in a statement.
”As the record now clearly proves, Roger was telling the truth then, just as he continues to tell the truth today.
“Roger Clemens did not take steroids, and anybody who says he did had better start looking for a hell of a good lawyer.”
Clemens, Pettitte, Gibbons and Roberts were named in baseball’s report on use of performance enhancing drugs issued last week by former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell.
Pettitte and Roberts have since admitted using banned drugs, and Gibbons has already been suspended for doping by MLB.
The 45-year-old Clemens, a seven times Cy Young award winner as best pitcher in his league, posted a 6-6 mark last season for the Yankees after joining them in mid-season.
Writing by Larry Fine in New York, editing by Jon Bramley in London