NEW YORK (AP) - Roger Clemens broke his silence Tuesday, again denying that former personal trainer Brian McNamee injected him with performance-enhancing drugs in his first public comments in more than a year.
The seven-time Cy Young Award winner was interviewed by phone on ESPN Radio's "Mike & Mike in the Morning." He said he chose to speak out Tuesday because it was the release date of a book about his alleged drug use.
"He's never injected me with HGH or steroids," Clemens said of McNamee's assertions to baseball investigator George Mitchell.
Clemens appeared on CBS' "60 Minutes" in January of last year, then held a news conference the next day. But he had stayed quiet since testifying before Congress the following month.
While "American Icon: The Fall of Roger Clemens and the Rise of Steroids in America's Pastime" was officially released Tuesday, its revelations were not new to the public. The book, by four New York Daily News reporters, recaps previous reports in the newspaper. It had been available to reviewers and had excerpts published before Tuesday.
Clemens said he had started working with a communications firm.
"They came in and said, 'You need to get your story out about all this garbage that is being said,'" he said. "It's important for me to do that. I've seen excerpts of the book and they're completely false. ... You know, guys, it's piling on. It's hurtful at times. But I'm moving on."
Clemens said he had given a DNA sample to federal investigators but that syringes provided by McNamee would not link him to performance-enhancing drug use.
"It's impossible because he's never given me any," Clemens said.
Clemens is under investigation by a federal grand jury in Washington that is trying to determine whether he lied when he told a congressional committee last year that he had not used illegal performance-enhancing drugs. Clemens said he had not been summoned to testify before the grand jury.
He also has sued McNamee for defamation.
"He's on the offensive again, which is Roger's mode of operation. ... This, in my view, is going to backfire, because he's publicly now poking a stick in Congress' eye. And, to me, all that's going to do is vitalize the prosecutors going forward," McNamee's lead lawyer, Richard Emery, said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "Nobody, for a minute, thinks he's not a liar just because he's talking. He's always talked, and he has stood by his falsehoods. So going forward, I think, it's just going to dig the hole deeper for him."
Clemens' radio appearance returns him to the spotlight as other stars had replaced him as the most visible reminders of baseball's drug scandal. Alex Rodriguez admitted before the season that he had used steroids, and Manny Ramirez was suspended last week for violating MLB's drug policy.
Clemens said he had not followed either situation closely. The Ramirez case proved "the testing program we have set up in Major League Baseball is great," he said.
Clemens said he was sad to hear about Rodriguez.
"I wish him the best, tell him to move forward, continue to do what he's doing," he said. "But I hope none of the things that he took or anything like that hurt his body to the point where it would hurt his career."
Clemens said it would have been "suicidal" for him to use steroids because of a history of heart problems in his family.
"Everywhere I've gone and gotten the opportunity to speak to young kids or college kids, I take a lot of pride in telling those boys to get after it and do things the right way and take care of your body, because I know how I did it; I know how hard I worked," Clemens said. "For some of that to come in question, of course it's hurtful. But it's not going to break my spirit."
Clemens also repeated his much-lampooned use of the word "misremembers" about friend and former teammate Andy Pettitte's statement that Clemens told him he used HGH.
Clemens said he has spoken to Pettitte a few times, but not about the drug allegations.
Clemens disputed the perception that's he gone into hiding, insisting he's doing the same things he's always done when he's not playing. He joked about competing with Brett Favre to see who could come out of retirement the most times.
Asked about polls showing the public doesn't believe him, Clemens said, "All I can do is speak the truth and from my heart to them."
"That's all I can do," he said. "I know what your polls say, (but) I've been getting great responses everywhere I've gone in the cities I've traveled to. All I can do is be me and give them the message I just told you about that steroids are bad for these kids. You don't want to have anything to do with them the way they tear your body down.
"But I can't defend a negative. When you've got somebody that's out there that is really just crawling up your back to make a buck - which is what this is - other than speaking out, what else can you do?"
AP Sports Writer Howard Fendrich in Washington contributed to this report.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.