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Roger Clemens trial figure C.J. Nitkowski to pitch in Mets' minors
C.J. Nitkowski, a former major leaguer with the Mets and Yankees who trained with Roger Clemens accuser Brian McNamee and was interviewed by the FBI, has signed a minor league deal with the Mets and will pitch for Double-A Binghamton.
The left-handed reliever announced the news on his twitter account.
“I haven't pitched in AA in 17 yrs but you take an opportunity when it presents itself & run with it,” Nitkowski wrote. “This is it, last shot. Thank you @Mets.”
The Mets confirmed the deal, pending a physical, via the team's official twitter account.
Nitkowski is 18-32 with a 5.37 ERA in 10 seasons for eight teams. He last pitched for the Nationals in 2005, and was a member of the Mets previously in 2001 and the Yankees in 2004. After spending 2006 in the Pirates' minor league system, Nitkowski left to play in Japan and South Korea.
He was interviewed in 2009 by federal agents during the investigation into whether Clemens committed perjury by denying using performance-enhancing drugs.
Nitkowski used McNamee as his trainer while working out with Clemens and Andy Pettitte.
“I have never seen Roger or Andy take any illegal performance-enhancing drugs,” Nitkowski told the AP. “I have never talked to either of them about PEDs, nor do I have any firsthand knowledge of them taking any PEDS.”
Nitkowski wrote an article for Sports Illustrated in August detailing his experience with stem cell treatment for his pitching arm, a procedure Bartolo Colon underwent before having success with the Yankees in 2011. Nitkowski underwent the procedure because of a torn rotator cuff and labrum in his left arm.
After converting to a side arm delivery with the help of former Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson, Nitkowski auditioned for the Mets during spring training.
Now he's pitching in the team's minor league system. Nitkowski last threw a Double-A pitch in 1995 while he was in the Reds' organization. He went 4-2 with a 2.50 ERA in eight games (all starts).
Similar success could help catapult him back to the majors one last time.