(Reuters) - Roger Clemens' defense team tried again on Thursday to show at his federal trial that the former pitcher's stunning late-career success was the product of hard work and smart pitching, not performance-enhancing drugs, according to media reports.
Clemens won his seventh Cy Young Award in 2004 - the summer he turned 42 - in his first season with the Houston Astros, after ending the season with an impressive 2.98 earned run average.
Clemens' late-career success "did not surprise me, knowing his mechanics and his work ethic," said Phil Garner, Clemens' manager when he pitched for the Astros from 2004-2006, according to USA Today.
Clemens is on trial for the second time on federal charges of lying in 2008 to the House of Representatives' Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which was investigating drug use in Major League Baseball.
His first trial ended last year in a mistrial.
Earlier, prosecutors and defense attorneys debated at length over whether the estranged wife of the government's key witness would testify for the defense. The testimony of Eileen McNamee, who is in the middle of a divorce from Clemens' former strength trainer, Brian McNamee, could prove damaging to the prosecution's case.
Brian McNamee has testified that he injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone in 1998, 2000 and 2001. Clemens testified that McNamee injected him with vitamin B-12.
At issue now is Eileen McNamee's immunity, which was granted during the government's investigation into whether Clemens lied to Congress under oath when he denied that he had ever used performance enhancing drugs.
McNamee's estranged husband's testimony and cross-examination implicated her in a number of illegal activities, prosecutors argued, and the parameters of her immunity from prosecution remain unclear, according to USA Today. Defense attorneys countered that her testimony would contradict Brian McNamee's claims.
"I would suspect, based on what I've heard, the department will be able to give her immunity (so the defense can call her as a witness)," U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton said, according to USA Today.
(Reporting by Chris Francescani; editing by Christopher Wilson)