Hardin issued strong statements maintaining Clemens' innocence in a release sent to reporters late Thursday afternoon. Hardin later elaborated his stance during an interview with Harold Reynolds and Casey Stern on BaseballChannel.TV.
"It's really unfortunate and I think, quite frankly, it's wrong," Hardin said during his interview on BaseballChannel.TV. "It's based on the uncorroborated allegations of one person who has really strongly denied that very position for years now.
"Roger feels very strongly that the Mitchell investigation is appropriate. He has no complaints about it at all. I strongly question the rightness of putting these names in there with nothing more than [these kinds] of uncorroborated allegations, particularly when Roger denies it.
"I'm not sure the Mitchell Report had to name names, knowing as it did so there was a risk of unfairly targeting people, as Roger strongly contends he has been."
Hardin called Clemens' and Andy Pettitte's former trainer, Brian McNamee, a "troubled man threatened with federal criminal prosecution" in the release sent to reporters.
"Roger Clemens vehemently denies allegations in the Mitchell Report that he used performance-enhancing steroids, and is outraged that his name is included in the report based on the uncorroborated allegations of a troubled man threatened with federal criminal prosecution," Hardin said in the prepared statement.
"Roger has been repeatedly tested for these substances and he has never tested positive," Hardin continued. "There has never been one shred of tangible evidence that he ever used these substances, and yet he is being slandered today.
"The use of steroids in sports is a serious problem, it is wrong and it should be stopped. However, I am extremely upset that Roger's name was in this report based on the allegations of a troubled and unreliable witness who only came up with names after being threatened with possible prison time."
According to the Mitchell report, McNamee told Mitchell's investigative team that he injected Clemens with the steroid Winstrol through the end of the 1998 season and that Clemens' performance "showed remarkable improvement." During the 2000 season, Clemens reportedly went back to McNamee and said he was "ready to use steroids again."
During the latter part of the regular season, McNamee said he injected Clemens "in the buttocks four to six times with testosterone from a bottle labeled either Sustanon 250 or Deca-Durabolin that McNamee had obtained from [Kirk] Radomski [the former Mets clubhouse attendant who is also named in the report]."
But Hardin offered a different take.
"Brian McNamee, a former trainer who worked with Clemens on the Toronto Blue Jays and the New York Yankees, has repeatedly denied these current claims, including in June of this year when he was first contacted by federal investigators," Hardin said. "According to McNamee, after a day of repeated denials to federal investigators, he changed his story under the threat of federal criminal prosecution. He says he was then forced by those federal prosecutorial authorities to tell the same story for inclusion in the Mitchell Report.
"I am at a total loss to understand how it is proper for federal prosecutorial authorities to use the threat of criminal prosecution to help in a private business investigation," Hardin continued. "I have great respect for Senator Mitchell. I think an overall look at this problem in baseball was an excellent idea. But I respectfully suggest it is very unfair to include Roger's name in this report. He is left with no meaningful way to combat what he strongly contends are totally false allegations. He has not been charged with anything, he will not be charged with anything and yet he is being tried in the court of public opinion with no recourse. That is totally wrong."
Pettitte, according to the report, called McNamee in 2002 while the left-hander was rehabilitating his elbow in Tampa, and asked the trainer about human growth hormone (HGH).
"Pettitte stated that he wanted to speed his recovery and help his team," the report says. "McNamee traveled to Tampa, Fla., at Pettitte's request and spent about 10 days assisting Pettitte with his rehabilitation. McNamee recalled that he injected Pettitte with human growth hormone that McNamee obtained from Radomski on two to four occasions. Pettitte paid McNamee for the trip and his expenses; there was no separate payment for the human growth hormone."
Hendricks issued a statement on Pettitte's behalf.
"I have advised Andy that as an active player, he should refrain from commenting until we have had an opportunity to speak with his union and other advisors," Hendricks said. "At the appropriate time, he will have something to say."
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less