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For now, all remains silent on the steroid front
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By Tim Dahlberg

Roger Clemens is speaking only through his people. Andy Pettitte communicates through statements. No one has heard a word from Paul Lo Duca or Eric Gagne.

The innocent usually protest the loudest, but there's barely been a peep out of the mouths of those named in George Mitchell's landmark report on steroids in baseball.

Could be they're busy finding just the right gifts the week before Christmas. Or maybe they're all just waiting to spill their guts to Bud Selig.

So far, though, their collective silence is both deafening and incriminating.

No howls of protest. No claims they were framed.

Yes, a few copped to using HGH, but insisted it was only to recover from injuries, which makes you wonder why doctors everywhere don't prescribe it. Apparently no one ever used HGH to grow muscles to hit more home runs or throw in the mid-90s.

The talking head apologists on TV - mostly former players - have to be beside themselves. When the report came out, they were quick to claim the evidence was weak, based on only a few sources, and did a terrible disservice to baseball players everywhere.

Now they're as quiet as the players Mitchell named.

The only outrage comes from Clemens' paid mouthpieces, not the Rocket himself. If the cover boy in the Mitchell report really didn't use steroids - and the evidence put forward makes that hard to believe - he's not helping his cause by clamming up when there's some real explaining to be done.

On Tuesday, Clemens' agent issued the pitcher's second statement since being featured in the Mitchell report, and you had to wonder why he bothered. The statement claimed he had never taken steroids and urged people not to rush to judgment until he answers questions at the appropriate time and in the appropriate way.

Well, the appropriate time is now. And the appropriate way is to stand before microphones and cameras and tell us honestly why your longtime personal trainer would risk federal charges by making up such a detailed story about your widespread use of steroids.

Don't wait until Congress sends you a subpoena to testify before two House panels next month. By then it will be far too late to win back any public support that has vanished while you've been in hiding the last few days.

High school coaches in Texas certainly want to hear his side. Clemens was supposed to attend their annual meeting next month to speak about "what he did on a daily basis that kept him in shape," but that was before they heard what he might have really done to keep in shape.

Maybe Clemens could just can the speech and bring along some syringes and vials of Winstrol and Deca-Durabolin for show-and-tell.

Pettitte, meanwhile, at least admitted he used human growth hormone. But he would have been a lot more credible had he faced reporters to answer questions about how long he used it, whom he bought it from, and whether or not his teammates were also using it.

Instead, Pettitte waited until most of the media had gone home for the weekend before issuing a statement through his agent that he was sorry "if what I did was an error in judgment on my part."

Pettitte's claim was that he used HGH only two days while on the disabled list, and only to heal quicker. He wants us to believe that he stopped after injecting himself twice because his conscience suddenly started bothering him.

He just might be telling the truth. Stranger things have happened. But why hide behind a statement issued through your agent if you are truly repentant and have done nothing wrong?

Former Red Sox reliever Brendan Donnelly also went the statement route, issuing one saying he was "sick to his stomach" and hadn't slept after being named in the report. Unlike Pettitte, he denied using anything, even though Red Sox executives were sure he had been juiced at one point in his career.

Since Donnelly isn't sleeping, he should have some extra time on his hands. Why not use it to answer specific questions about what he did and didn't do instead of dismissing it in a few well-crafted paragraphs?

The same goes for Lo Duca and Gagne, former teammates on the Los Angeles Dodgers who surely would be happy to talk about their days together. Lo Duca can explain how he suddenly stopped hitting hard line drives, prompting the Dodgers to trade him a few years back, while Gagne can tell how his body broke down about the same time as his fastball.

Come to think of it, Kevin Brown hasn't said a thing either. Of course, Brown never said much about anything, though he might have issued a few choice words when he punched a clubhouse wall a few years ago and broke his hand.

In the end, we can only judge by what we hear.

The overwhelming silence of those named in the Mitchell report makes that judgment an easy one to make.