KISSIMMEE, Fla. &
Houston Astros owner Drayton McLane will honor Roger Clemens' 10-year personal services contract despite an FBI decision to investigate whether the star pitcher lied under oath about his denials of steroid use.
McLane said today that reports that he was reconsidering Clemens' contract because of his legal issues were "overstated."
"All the legal troubles, does that jeopardize this?" he said. "My answer was, 'I don't know where that's going. We'll just have to wait and evaluate what happens.' But I don't see anything that's occurred right now that would jeopardize his contract. That's what was overstated."
Clemens' contract kicks in after he officially retires. He's been throwing batting practice to minor leaguers at spring training since Wednesday, but McLane said he's doing it voluntarily and is not getting paid.
On Thursday, the FBI took over the Clemens case after Congress asked the Justice Department to look into Clemens' testimony at a Feb. 5 deposition and a Feb. 13 hearing. Asked Thursday if Clemens could lose his contract if Clemens' case turned into a criminal investigation, McLane answered, "We'll just have to see what happens. You're putting supposition into it and we'll just have to wait and see what transpires."
Clemens could face perjury charges if found guilty. McLane said he was not familiar enough with the wording in the contract to know how an indictment might affect Clemens' agreement.
"I'm just dealing in the present of where we are today," McLane said. "I don't know where this will lead. I don't know how this fits into the contract. There is no doubt, we will honor the contract. We're not looking for any reason to back out of the contract. I think Roger, long term, can be an asset to the Houston Astros."
But McLane said he'd meet Friday with general manager Ed Wade and president of baseball operations Tal Smith to evaluate whether they want Clemens to continue to help with their minor leaguers. Reporters and photographers have followed Clemens' every move since he started working out with players Wednesday.
McLane expressed concern that Clemens' presence was proving a distraction.
"Not necessarily a bad thing. It creates a lot of attention," McLane said. "There are good points and bad points. Roger, in the 16 years I've been involved with the Houston Astros, he's the most charismatic person I've ever seen. Just his presence changes everything."
McLane said he last met with Clemens and his agents, Alan and Randy Hendricks, in December, after the release of the Mitchell Report.
"Roger is a good person," McLane said. "I met with him back in December and he said, 'I clearly don't want to be a distraction.' He genuinely means that."
Astros owner McLane plans to honor Clemens' contract
KISSIMMEE, Fla. &