Roger Clemens, Mindy McCready

Dimitrios Kambouris/, AP Photo/John Russell

Although beggars can't be choosers, Roger Clemens would have probably preferred a less inflammatory distraction from those pesky steroid allegations.

A day after the beleaguered baseball star denied having shared more than a friendship with Mindy McCready, the country singer went and told the New York Daily News, which first reported the alleged hookup, that she most certainly did have an intimate relationship with Clemens.

"I cannot refute anything in the story," McCready said regarding the paper's anonymously sourced report about their "love at first sight" meeting at a Florida bar when she was 15—and the then-28-year-old athlete, who at the time was pitching for the Boston Red Sox, was already a married father of two.

She accompanied Clemens to his hotel room that night, the 32-year-old songstress said, but the affair did not turn intimate until she moved to Nashville to pursue her career when she was 18.

"Yes, I have known Roger Clemens for a long time," McCready said. "He's a kind and caring man. He's also a legendary athlete. The central topic in the debate, however, regards his professional life, not his personal life.

"There are legal matters working their way through the system that have nothing to do with me. From my point of view, that is where the focus should remain."

In a similar confirmation to the New York Post, McCready's father, Tim, reiterated that "nothing went on between them physically until well after she had moved to Nashville and broken up with [fiancé Dean Cain]." She and Cain split up in 1998.

"With Roger, there was a definite attraction between them. But it was an on-again, off-again thing," Tim McCready said.

Clemens' camp has only ventured so far as to say the erstwhile All-Star considered McCready a "close personal friend" and nothing else, but the seven-time Cy Young Award winner hasn't yet responded to this round of he-said, they-said.

But you know it's never a good sign when your lawyer is trying to steer the conversation back to illegal substances.

"It is unfortunate that the Daily News has chosen to report anonymous allegations that are completely unfounded, have no basis in fact, and have nothing to do with Roger's baseball career or the issue of steroid use in baseball," Clemens attorney Rusty Hardin said yesterday.

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