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Roger Clemens hopes to have fun in return to baseball
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“I’ve been to the major leagues and back a couple of times,” he said. “I’ve retired and unretired, so I wouldn’t consider thinking that far ahead. I’m just going to try to get through Saturday. I think I can compete a little bit.”
A return at his age wouldn’t be all that outlandish, considering that Jamie Moyer returned from elbow ligament replacement surgery to start for the Colorado Rockies this season. Clemens chuckled when asked about Moyer.
“People are trying to ingrain that in my mind that 50 is now the new 40,” he said. “But I’m not buying it because I’m still having to pack myself in a lot of ice.”
He says he talks to new Houston Astros owner Jim Crane often but that he has not talked about pitching for the Astros and that he doesn’t see that happening.
He isn’t committing to playing more than one game for the Skeeters, who play in a Houston suburb, saying he wants to see how Saturday goes first.
Clemens was accused by former personal trainer Brian McNamee in the Mitchell Report on drugs in baseball of using steroids and HGH, allegations Clemens denied before Congress. The Justice Department began an investigation concerning whether Clemenshad lied under oath, and in 2010 a grand jury indicted him on two counts of perjury, three counts of making false statements and one count of obstructing Congress.
He was acquitted of all the charges on June 19 after a 10-week trial and has largely stayed out of the public spotlight until now.
He’s glad to be talking about baseball again instead of that difficult chapter in his life.
“Everybody has their own opinion and they dwell on that so much,” he said. “In between all of that, handling that business up there and doing what was right for me and my family and taking that head on, I was still doing the work that I’ve always done. So it wasn’t gloomy or depressing.”
Clemens had two great seasons with the Astros after he turned 40, going 18-4 with a 2.98 ERA in 2004 to win his record seventh Cy Young Award. He was 13-8 with a career-low 1.87 ERA in 2005.
Tal Smith, a longtime former Astros executive who is now a special advisor to the Skeeters, is one person who wouldn’t be surprised if Clemens made a comeback in the majors.
“Knowing Roger and how competitive he is and what great shape he is in, and the fact that Jamie Moyer pitched close to 50 and Nolan Ryan pitched well into his late 40s, if anybody can do it, Roger Clemens can do it,” he said.
Clemens earned about $160 million and won 354 games in a 24-year career with the Red Sox, Blue Jays, Yankees and Astros. His 4,672 strikeouts are third-most and he was named to 11 All-Star games.
Now he will see what he has left for the Skeeters that have a roster which includes former major league pitchers Tim Redding and Scott Kazmir and Jason Lane, a teammate of Clemens‘ on Houston’s 2005 World Series team.
Smith believes this is a great opportunity for Clemens and he thinks it could change some opinions as a possible Hall of Fame vote approaches.
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