Baseball steroids investigator George Mitchell insisted naming names was the right decision and said he was prepared for Roger Clemens and others to deny they used performance-enhancing drugs.

"We made every effort to establish the truthfulness of the information that we received," he said yesterday during a half-hour interview at his law office in New York. "Several of the witnesses were interviewed in the presence of federal law-enforcement agents who informed the witnesses that if they made false statements they would subject themselves to possible criminal jeopardy. So there was very strong incentive to tell the truth."

Mitchell's searing report implicated Clemens, seven former MVPs and more than 80 players.

Clemens' lawyer vehemently denied the accusations against the seven-time Cy Young Award winner, whose Hall of Fame chances might have been damaged by Mitchell's report. Andy Pettitte's agent, Randy Hendricks, advised his client not to comment because he is an active player.

Mitchell said baseball's problem seems to have shifted from steroids to human growth hormone, for which there is no reliable test. He predicted a different substance will replace HGH as the drug of choice.

President Bush, a former Texas Rangers owner, was among the many fans commenting on Mitchell's findings: "My hope is that this report is a part of putting the steroid era of baseball behind us. Steroids have sullied the game."

Noteworthy

* The Arizona Diamondbacks acquired All-Star pitcher Dan Haren from Oakland and traded major league saves leader Jose Valverde to Houston in separate swaps involving 12 players.

Oakland also sent righthander Connor Robertson to Arizona and received lefthanders Brett Anderson, Dana Eveland and Greg Smith; infielder Chris Carter; and outfielders Aaron Cunningham and Carlos Gonzalez.

The NL West champion Diamondbacks got reliever Chad Qualls, infielder Chris Burke and righthander Juan Gutierrez from the Astros.

Haren, 15-9, 3.07 ERA this year, became the first elite starter to switch teams this offseason.

* Acquiring help for the bullpen, Texas introduced Japanese reliever Kazuo Fukumori after the sides agreed to a $3 million, 2-year deal that includes a team option for 2010.

* Third baseman Mike Lamb and the Minnesota Twins agreed to a $6.6 million, 2-year contract with an option for 2010.

* Cliff Floyd agreed to a $3 million, 1-year contract with the Tampa Bay Rays.

* Shortstop David Eckstein, the 2006 World Series MVP with the Cardinals, passed his physical and finalized a $4.5 million, 1-year contract with the Blue Jays. *