Yankees Notebook: Jeter, Girardi react to Clemens verdict
The verdict in Roger Clemens’ perjury trial was revealed yesterday afternoon and a jury found him not guilty on the six counts. That included three counts of making false statements, two counts of perjury and one count of obstruction.
The trial was based on testimony Clemens made to a congressional committee in 2008 when he denied taking any steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs. The testimony occurred shortly after he was prominently named in the Mitchell Report that was released in Dec. 2007.
Manager Joe Girardi and captain Derek Jeter, who were teammates with Clemens, addressed the verdict, which was revealed after roughly 10 hours of deliberations. Both sounded pleased the trial was over as they spoke briefly outside the Yankee dugout before the game Monday.
“I think it means a lot for him, first and foremost. That’s an important thing,” Jeter said. “I mean it’s great for the game that can stop talking about it now you know what I mean. I mean this stuff has been going for a long time and I’m glad that it’s over with. I’m pretty sure baseball fans will be happy that it’s over with.”
“I think we get all these trials out of the way, we move on,” Girardi said. “I think it does [move up past the era] because it seems like every time someone was brought up for a grand jury or went for trial, it focused on what’s been going on the last 10 to 15 years. Now it seems like we’re beyond [that]. We can focus on what’s going on the next 10 years.”
Both also addressed Clemens’s career and his chances of being inducted into the Hall of Fame.
“He had one of the best careers for any pitcher who ever played the game,” Jeter said. “He was someone that I enjoyed competing against; I enjoyed playing with. He’s going to go down as one of the greatest pitchers of all time.
“I don’t know. I mean when you look at his numbers, they’re absolutely incredible for what he did over his career here. I mean, that’s what the voters need to decide.”
Former friend and teammate Andy Pettitte, who has admitted to using HGH, declined to comment through a team spokesman.
Swisher still day-to-day
For the second time this season right fielder Nick Swisher is dealing with a minor injury. Last month, he dealt with a hamstring injury that cost him a week and this time he has a minor bone bruise in his leg.
Swisher suffered the injury during Saturday’s 14-inning win at Washington. He left the game after his leg collided with a bat at home plate after being thrown out at the plate in the sixth inning.
“It’s going to go away,” Girardi said. “Is it another day after today? That’s possible. Do I expect to have him in the next couple of days? I do. It’s a big improvement from yesterday.”
Swisher took some swings and he said, through a team spokesman, there was some improvement but it was not completely recovered.
Gardner hopes to return by the break
Monday marked the two-month anniversary of Brett Gardner missing his first game with a wrist injury that has suffered a few setbacks. He said that he is hoping to return around the All-Star Break and any player who sets a goal meets Girardi’s approval.
“I want guys to have goals in mind because if you don’t have a date in mind, I think it’s more difficult to go through what you’re going through,” Girardi said. “I think it gives him a little bit of hope that he’s going to get through it.”
Despite a nine-game winning streak, the Yankees have scored 43 runs and stolen just four bases.
“I think we have missed him,” Girardi said. “We missed his ability to create runs and we miss his defense. We miss a lot of things.”
Defensively, in terms of errors and fielding percentage, the Yankees have been the best in the American League. Their 26 errors are the fewest and their .989 fielding percentage is the highest in the league.
Yanks near top of All-Star balloting
Four Yankees are near the top of the newest voting totals for next month’s All-Star Game in Kansas City. Besides Derek Jeter, who has the second most votes behind Josh Hamilton, Robinson Cano is over 15,000 votes behind Ian Kinsler while Mark Teixeira is third among first baseman.
Curtis Granderson is also in the mix, as he significantly trails Hamilton for most votes among outfielders. The top-3 vote-getters all start. Should he win, he would be the first Yankee to win the fan voting in consecutive seasons.
Granderson, who always jokes that he’s not a power hitter, currently has 21 home runs. That puts him on pace for 52 home runs, which is a similar pace to last year when he finished with a career high 41 home runs.
“You expect him to hit 30 home runs,” Girardi said. “I don’t know if you expect 40; that’s a lot of home runs. There aren’t many guys who do that. He’s on pace to do that. If he does it again, I’m not going to be shocked.”
Follow Yankees beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.