Pettitte looks uncomfortable during testimony

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Pettitte looks uncomfortable during testimony

From Comcast SportsNet
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Andy Pettitte looked like he wanted to be anywhere but on the witness stand in the Roger Clemens perjury trial. During breaks Tuesday when the judge and lawyers haggled over legal procedures, Pettitte looked down or straight ahead, never in Clemens' direction. He rested his head in his palm, yawned, looked at his watch and sighed. A few times he rubbed his eyes for several seconds, looking like he couldn't wait for this to end. But Pettitte returns to the stand Wednesday, when Clemens' lawyers will continue to try to sow doubts about the key testimony that Pettitte provided for prosecutors: "Roger had mentioned to me that he had taken HGH." Clemens, who told Congress in 2008 that his friend and former Major League Baseball teammate "misremembers" the conversation, is accused of lying to Congress when he said he never took human growth hormone or steroids. The two men arrived at opposite ends of the courthouse a few minutes apart Wednesday morning, both in gray suits. Pettitte carried a backpack and a bottle of water. Clemens lawyer Michael Attanasio started the doubt campaign late Tuesday when he coaxed Pettitte into agreeing that Clemens' remark was a passing comment made during a workout. Attanasio also got Pettitte to praise Clemens' work ethic, mechanics and concentration -- not to mention the seven Cy Young awards he had won for his outstanding pitching. The cross-examination got to feel so much like a Clemens infomercial that prosecutor Steven Durham objected at one point. Pettitte is crucial to a government case that otherwise will rely heavily on the testimony of Brian McNamee, who worked as a strength coach for both Clemens and Pettitte and has said he injected both men with performance-enhancing substances. The government showed the jury photos of the three working out together in Texas during happier times -- "Mac, Roger and me," as Pettitte put it. Pettitte has acknowledged he received HGH from McNamee; Clemens has not. Pettitte told the jury about the time he used HGH in 2002 while recovering from an injury, but he wasn't allowed to say he was injected by McNamee because the judge earlier ruled that information inadmissible. Pettitte said he used HGH one other time, in 2004. He said he regretted it both times he tried it, that he doesn't think it helped him physically and that it has tarnished his name. "I wish I never would've" taken HGH, he said in his slow Texas drawl. "If I hadn't done it, I wouldn't be here today." Pettitte also recalled the other time he spoke with Clemens about HGH, during the media swirl surrounding earlier congressional hearings -- in 2005 -- on drug use in sports. Both were playing for the Houston Astros, and Pettitte asked Clemens at spring training what Clemens would say if asked by reporters about HGH use. Clemens responded, "What are you talking about?" according to Pettitte, and said Pettitte must have misunderstood the earlier conversation, said to have taken place in 1999 or 2000. "He said, My wife used it,'" Pettitte said. "Obviously I was a little flustered," Pettitte said, "because I thought that he told me that he did." Both Clemens and McNamee have said McNamee injected Debbie Clemens with HGH at the Clemens home in 2003, although they differ over certain details. Pettitte's appearance Tuesday came without warning. The government interrupted testimony from the trial's first witness to call Pettitte just before noon. Wearing a gray suit, white shirt and striped tie, he walked into court a day after allowing six runs and 10 hits with eight strikeouts over 5-23 innings in an extended spring training game in Clearwater, Fla., as part his comeback attempt at age 39 with the New York Yankees. Pettitte strode purposefully to the witness stand, but when he squeezed his 6-foot-5 frame into the seat, he looked out of place. He sat with hands clasped during most of his testimony. During prosecutor Durham's questioning, Pettitte described how he admired Clemens as a youngster and considered him a mentor when they played together for the Yankees and Astros. Pettitte said he still considered Clemens a good friend but hasn't been able to talk to him for a long time because of the case. He also said it was difficult to testify against his friend. But there was almost no interaction between the two large men Tuesday. About the only time Pettitte looked in Clemens' direction was when the prosecutor asked whether Clemens was in the courtroom, and Pettitte pointed to the man in the suit and "greenish tie." Clemens stood and nodded. For his part, Clemens took more notes than usual on his yellow legal pad. When trial recessed for the day, Pettitte walked out of the courtroom without looking toward Clemens. Pettitte signed an autograph in the hall, then quickly entered an office.

Todd Frazier: White Sox finding different ways to lose

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Todd Frazier: White Sox finding different ways to lose

NEW YORK -- The White Sox just can’t seem to get back on track.  

Over their last 19 games, a once-hot team has continually created new ways to lose.

On Monday, the White Sox couldn’t produce a clutch hit against Matt Harvey and lost 1-0 to the New York Mets at Citi Field to extend their losing streak to seven. Harvey retired Todd Frazier and J.B. Shuck with two in scoring position and New York got a late Neil Walker homer to pull ahead.

Over the weekend against Kansas City, the bullpen faltered and allowed 14 earned runs in 6 1/3 innings. At some point before that, the team’s starting pitching didn’t come through or a series of poor offensive performances surfaced. All of their maladies have added up to a 4-15 stretch, including 12 losses by two runs or fewer.

“It’s just frustrating losing, whether it’s one or two runs,” third baseman Todd Frazier said. “You know, a strikeout here or a base hit here and we could have swept the Royals. It’s going to take one thing to just get us going and it hasn’t happened.

“When we were winning, it seemed like a different guy every day. Now, it’s the opposite -- a different guy every day not getting the job done. It was me today. When you have opportunities, whether you are slumping or not, see the ball, hit the ball. That’s baseball. Don’t put too much on your shoulders and just play the game.

“We talk about it all the time: Do your job. And I didn’t do it.”

Fire to take time off during Copa America break

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Fire to take time off during Copa America break

Professional soccer players have plenty of down time in their day-to-day lives, but rarely have a stretch of true off days during the season.

This week, though, will be a break for the Chicago Fire. As the Copa America kicks off Friday, the Fire will get a rare in-season week off.

Major League Soccer is taking a break for the tournament contested between national teams from North and South America. No Fire players are participating in the tournament.

Not only does the team not play again until June 15, but the team will not train again until Monday, June 6.

“We want our guys to recover well and start the second part of the season in the best possible performance,” coach Veljko Paunovic said after Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Portland. “They will have a fitness plan during this time.”

This is a change of pace from the team’s earlier bye weeks where Paunovic said those were a chance to work on the team’s fitness. This time around the Paunovic is using it as a chance to give the players a restart before getting back to work.

“I think it’s good for us to get a little bit of time off,” midfielder Matt Polster said. “We still have a fitness packet to do and we have to maintain our fitness over the week. I think the guys need to take a little break. When you can, you take it. I think that’s huge for us so when we come back we’re much hungrier to get the next three points.”

The Fire have a longer break than most of MLS. There are three league matches Wednesday and three more on Thursday before the whole league breaks. In addition, the three Canadian MLS teams are playing in the Canadian Championship on Wednesday.

That means the Fire are one of just five MLS teams to get a slightly earlier, longer break for the Copa America.

The Fire return to action in the U.S. Open Cup. They will play against the winner of the Indy Eleven-Louisville City match, which will be played on Wednesday. If Louisville wins the Fire will travel for the June 15 fourth round match. If Indy wins, the match will be at Toyota Park.

White Sox: Bad luck returns for Jose Quintana

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White Sox: Bad luck returns for Jose Quintana

NEW YORK -- Time for Jose Quintana to find a new four-leaf clover or lucky horseshoe.

His bad luck seems to have resurfaced.

Even though he lowered his earned-run average to 2.13, Quintana earned a fourth straight loss on Monday afternoon as the White Sox dropped a 1-0 decision to the New York Mets. Quintana yielded a seventh-inning home run to Neil Walker, his only blemish in a sturdy seven-inning performance, but was outpitched by Matt Harvey. The defeat dropped Quintana’s record to 5-5.

“This is stuff we see out of him all the time,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “If we could score, he’d have a better record, and everybody would know his name.”

Quintana made it evident early on he was capable of stopping a White Sox losing streak that now stands at seven. He struck out four in a row, including the side in the second inning.

The left-hander, whose streak of 34 straight starts with four or fewer runs allowed is tied with Jake Arrieta for the longest active streak in the majors, induced an inning-ending double play in the fourth. He faced only three over the minimum through six innings and matched zeroes with Harvey.

But Walker came through in the seventh inning and attached an undeserved ‘L’ to Quintana’s name in the box score. During his four-game losing streak, Quintana has a 3.41 ERA in 26 1/3 innings.

“I’m sure he could easily have a much better record over the course of his career if he had a little bit more run support for sure,” catcher Alex Avila said. “But credit to him, he keeps going out there and pitching good games.”

The loss dropped Quintana’s career record to 38-39 despite a 3.35 ERA in 815 innings. Fifteen of those losses have come since the beginning of the 2015 season even though Quintana has a 3.04 ERA in those 43 starts. He’s 14-15 in that span.

The grand total of support Quintana has received in those losses --- 16, including one run or fewer over 12 starts.

While he was speaking about the team after Monday’s loss, Quintana might as well have been discussing himself.

“Right now, we try to get a first win,” Quintana said. “We try to forget everything, the losses, and start again. Tomorrow we’ll try to get the first win.”