Torre defends Clemens as 'great teammate'

Torre defends Clemens as 'great teammate'

NEW YORK -- Roger Clemens' recent acquittal on all charges at a federal perjury trial related to his testimony on performance-enhancing drugs before the House Committee on Oversight and Government reform could open the door for the former Yankees right-hander to make a return for Old-Timers' Day.

Manager Joe Girardi, who was Clemens' teammate for one of the pitcher's six seasons in New York, was non-committal on the subject, leaving it in the hands of the organization "on what is the best thing to do."

"We've had a lot of players that have come back, players who have [been] through difficult times and come back," Girardi said. "So I can't tell you exactly what's going to happen, but Roger was a great Yankee."

But former Yankees manager Joe Torre was much more vocal in his support of Clemens, who won two World Series titles and an American League Cy Young Award under Torre.

"I'm a little prejudiced on Clemens; he was like a son to me," Torre said. "Unfortunately, the question mark is always going to be there. It's something that's sad to me, because Roger Clemens and the way he went about his business -- I disliked him like everybody else until I got a chance to know him.

"He was a great teammate for these guys, and he was very devoted to the team he was playing with. I always respected that. There's a closeness that I've always had with him. I'm just happy he has a chance to exhale now."