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Boro native faces off with Clemens at Congressional steroid hearing

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"I have no reason to lie, and every reason not to," the Breezy Point native told congressmen during his opening statement at a hearing also attended by Clemens.

McNamee also expressed a mixture of admiration and regret about Clemens, who has stridently maintained he has never taken human growth hormone or steroids.

"I worked with one of the greatest players in the history of baseball," McNamee said of the pitcher with whom he worked as a personal trainer from 1998 to 2007 and a strength coach with the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees until 2001.

"I hoped the issue would fade away. It did not," he said in reference to Clemens' taping of what McNamee presumed was a private phone call between the two, in which the latter discussed his son's fragile medical condition.

McNamee has said the taping prompted him to come forward with what he said was evidence of Clemens' steroid use, in the form of syringes he had saved and maintained from six years ago.

McNamee also said during the course of the hearing that he had saved evidence of fellow former Yankee Chuck Knoblauch's steroid use. Knoblauch admitted using steroids to Congress in the wake of the Mitchell Report.

The congressional committee repeatedly expressed skepticism about the credibility of both men. U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the committee chairman, said the hearing was a "rare" juxtaposition of incongruous positions. "Both insist they are telling the truth, but their accounts couldn't be more different," Waxman said.

Waxman's colleague, U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), grilled Clemens about alleged steroid use, noting that Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte and Pettitte's wife both said Clemens had told Pettitte he used HGH.

Clemens insisted that Pettitte, whom he described as a friend, had "misremembered" the conversation.

Reach reporter M. Junaid Alam by e-mail at malam@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300 Ext 174.

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