The Skeeters’ manager is former Minnesota Twins third baseman Gary Gaetti, a two-time All-Star who turned 54 on Sunday. He and Clemens became friends when Clemens pitched for the Astros and Gaetti was Houston’s hitting coach from 2004-06.
Gaetti began talking to Clemens about his oldest son, Koby. Originally a first or third baseman, Koby Clemens was drafted by the Astros in 2007, and recently signed a minor-league contract with Toronto. Along the way, Gaetti texted Roger in April and asked if he would consider playing for the Skeeters.
“He said, `That sounds interesting,’” Gaetti recalled. “I think I could go out and do five innings right now.”
Clemens joked that he may not last more than two innings on Saturday.
“Get here early,” he said, “‘cause it might go by pretty quick. I hope it’s more than one or two innings, but it might not be. I don’t know what to expect. I’m going to get out here, kick my leg up and try to get behind some baseballs, and turn `em loose.”
Clemens says he bought 125 tickets for family and friends, including some former teammates.
“It’s exciting,” Clemens said. “It’s into the summer, the kids are going back to school, it’s going to be fun.”
“Tell me what I need to do,” he said.
Clemens walked through the clubhouse and shook hands with every Skeeter, including former major-leaguer Scott Kazmir, who started Friday night. A piece of masking tape above Clemens‘ locker read: “Rocket (hash) 21.”
“He just wants to be one of the guys, and it’s great to have him here,” Redding said. “I know we all can’t wait to see him perform.”
“I know Roger, I know what he can do,” said Gaetti, who hit a grand slam off Clemens in September 1993. “I’m anticipating one start, right here. One start. Depending on how things go, and what he decides he wants to do _ if he feels like he can help us win some ballgames, and he feels good about what he’s doing, then why not (more starts)?
“A lot of it is going to be determined on how he feels,” Gaetti said. “I’m certain that he can help us win ballgames. If that’s what he wants to do, then he’s more than welcome to do that. If he has other plans, then that’s his deal.”