WASHINGTON A draft letter asking the Justice Department to investigate whether Roger Clemens made false statements to Congress has been written by House staffers, The New York Times reported on its Web site Monday, citing three unidentified lawyers familiar with the matter.
The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held the Feb. 13 hearing at which personal trainer Brian McNamee repeated his allegations that he injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone and Clemens repeated his denials. Both men spoke under oath during depositions and at the hearing.
Karen Lightfoot, spokeswoman for committee chairman Henry Waxman, would not comment when asked about the existence of the draft letter. Waxman's chief of staff did not respond to telephone or e-mail messages.
Waxman and ranking Republican Tom Davis have been working in concert during the committee's look at steroids in baseball, dating to the 2005 hearing with Mark McGwire.
But as of Monday evening, the committee's sides hadn't been in contact about a letter or a referral.
"We've not been told about a draft letter. We haven't been told to expect one. And we haven't been told about a process where anyone was supposed to draft a letter," committee Republican general counsel Keith Ausbrook said.
COLON AGREES WITH RED SOX: The Boston Red Sox are taking a "no-risk, high-reward" shot on Bartolo Colon.
The Red Sox came to terms Monday on a minor league contract with the 2005 Cy Young Award winner. The 34-year-old righty, who last pitched on Feb. 6 in the Caribbean World Series, is expected to arrive in camp Tuesday.
The team's medical staff will evaluate the two-time All-Star, who has gone 7-13 with a 5.72 ERA while slowed by shoulder and elbow injuries the past two seasons. He went 6-8 with a 6.34 ERA in the final year of a four-year, $51 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels last season. If he is added to the Red Sox 40-man roster, he would get a $1.2 million, one-year contract and have the chance to earn performance and roster bonuses.
If healthy, Colon is expected to provide depth for a rotation that may be without Curt Schilling, who is rehabbing a shoulder injury, for all of the upcoming season. Rookie Clay Buchholz, who tossed a no-hitter in his second major league start last season, is the front-runner for the fifth spot behind Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Tim Wakefield and Jon Lester.
RAYS TALKING ABOUT BONDS: The Tampa Bay Rays have had internal discussions about the prospect of pursuing Barry Bonds.
Manager Joe Maddon said Monday he knew "little" about what was going on, but acknowledged some thought has been given to the career home-run leader.
"A minor discussion was thrown out there a little bit, and it's really not gone any further than that," Maddon said after Monday's workout at the team's spring training facility. "That's all it is right now."
The St. Petersburg Times reported in Monday's editions that team officials have conferred among themselves about Bonds and other veteran unsigned free agents, such as Kenny Lofton and Mike Piazza. Andrew Friedman, Rays vice president of baseball operations, called the report a "non-story."
LIDGE SURGERY CALLED SUCCESSFUL: Philadelphia Phillies closer Brad Lidge is expected to miss three to six weeks after having surgery Monday on his right knee. The team said the operation was successful.
The 31-year-old right-hander, Philadelphia's biggest offseason acquisition, caught a spike in the mound on his first pitch of batting practice Saturday. Doctors removed torn cartilage from the same knee in October.
STEINBRENNER PLANS TO TALK WITH CASHMAN: Yankees senior vice president Hank Steinbrenner plans to talk about a new contract with general manager Brian Cashman before the regular season ends.
Cashman, in the final year of his current contract, said shortly after arriving at spring training that he wanted to keep any discussion of a new deal between himself and the Steinbrenner family.
"I want to concentrate on the season, and he does, too," Hank Steinbrenner said Monday. "But during the course of the season, we will talk. It will just happen. We'll be sitting together at the game, and we'll start talking about it. It's just that simple."
Cashman joined the Yankees as a 19-year-old intern in June 1986. He succeeded Bob Watson as general manager after the 1997 season.
UNION, OWNERS TO MEET AGAIN ON STEROIDS: While lawyers for players and owners plan to resume discussions on the Mitchell Report's recommendations for improving the sport's drug testing, the No. 3 official of the players' association said Monday that the "current program is working fine."
Union general counsel Michael Weiner and former players Bobby Bonilla and Stan Javier were among a group that met for about 75 minutes with the Houston Astros on Monday on to discuss the ramifications of the report and other issues.
Players and owners have had a series of meetings on the Mitchell Report, which includes recommendations for increased frequency in testing and more independence for the program administrator, who is jointly selected by the sides and was added in 2006.