Roger Clemens is returning to the mound. Will the New York Yankees be watching? Not likely since the 50-year-old right-hander’s agent Randy Hendricks told ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, “It’s a fun thing and let’s just see how he does Saturday night. That will determine if he pitches for them again.”
Houston’s Fox 26 reported that the former standout pitcher who won 354 games in 24 years with the Red Sox, Blue Jays, Yankees and Astros will sign with the independent league Sugar Land Skeeters, a team based in the Houston area.
“He’s in such great shape it’s ridiculous,” Astros bullpen catcher Javier Bracamonte, a close friend of Clemens who caught his workout for the Skeeters, told Fox 26. “He’s the same guy he was before. He is nasty. His split is good. He still has life. He was throwing in the high 80s.”
Clemens, who once routinely hit the high 90s on the radar gun earlier in his career, was acquitted on charges that he lied to Congress and obstructed justice in the wake of telling Congress that he did use steroids or human growth hormone.
After winning three American League Cy Youngs for the Red Sox, he saw two years of mediocrity in 1995 and 1996 (when he was 10-5 with a 4.18 ERA and 10-13 with a 3.63 ERA respectively) and was not retained after 13 seasons in Boston. Clemens departed for Toronto, where he incredibly won consecutive American League Cy Young Awards, going 21-7 with a 2.05 ERA in 1997 and 20-6 with a 2.65 ERA in 1998.
Clemens won another AL Cy Young with the Yankees in 2001 (20-3, 3.51 ERA) and a National League Cy Young Award for Houston in 2004 when he recorded an 18-4 record and a 2.98 ERA at the age of 41.
Clemens made a splash in the Bronx when he made a widely covered return out of retirement to the Yankees at the age of 44 in 2007, finishing 6-6 with a 4.18 ERA.
Though he was acquitted of charges this summer, Clemens’ reputation is forever stained in the eyes of many media members and baseball fans. When he takes the mound on Saturday, Clemens will be managed by former Major Leaguer Gary Gaetti.