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Jays manager Gaston blasts former ace Clemens

The Canadian Press
4/3/2009 9:19:00 PM
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LAKELAND, Fla. - Cito Gaston blasted the Rocket on Thursday, saying he believes an allegation that Roger Clemens played a role in his 1997 firing as Toronto Blue Jays manager.

"I wouldn't doubt that," Gaston told Toronto beat writers before an 8-5 Grapefruit League loss to the Detroit Tigers. "He's an a-----e himself, a complete a-----e.

"I'd say that loud, right in his face. It's all about him, nobody else but him."

Author Jeff Pearlman made the allegation in his new book "The Rocket That Fell to Earth" and adds that Clemens pushed for the hiring of Tim Johnson, who was fired after one season for lying about his military service.

Gaston, now in his second stint as Blue Jays manager, praised Clemens' work ethic and ability, but had little regard for him as a person.

He said Clemens worked to undermine his authority, once questioning a decision to leave Pat Hentgen in a game behind his back and in front of the team.

"He wouldn't (confront me)," said Gaston, who added that he wished Clemens had come to him with the complaint. "One of us would have had an ass whuppin' that day.

"It might have been me, but he still would have known I was there."

Gaston later brought up the incident with his ace pitcher and said Clemens responded by saying: "What do you want to do - about staying here or leaving."

"That's what he said, do you want to stay or do you want to leave," said Gaston. "I said, 'What do you mean, what are you talking about?'

"So he's a bitter old man, I don't have much to say about old Roger."

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