After performing well in his second start for the independent Sugar Land Skeeters minor league squad, former Houston Astro and current 50-year old Roger Clemens could be on the verge of a return to the Major Leagues, and the owner of the team most likely to sign him isn’t ruling it out.
The Associated Press reports that Astros owner Jim Crane has indicated a willingness to sign Clemens and put him to work right away. Crane has said he wouldn’t use Clemens against a contender, so the last chance for the Rocket to pitch for Houston is during this week’s homestand against the Chicago Cubs or Philadelphia Phillies.
“We’re just going to sit tight,” Crane told the AP. “We’ll wait and see if he calls us, but we might call him, who knows?”
ESPN reported that Clemens has done fairly well in his two starts with the Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League. Clemens pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings in his first start, and he pitched a shutout through 4 2/3 innings in his second start with his son, Koby Clemens, acting as catcher for the Skeeters. Roger Clemens’s fastball, once clocked in the high 90s, came in at only 88 miles per hour. He struck out one batter and showed some fielding ability as well, picking up a slow grounder and throwing a runner out first.
Roger Clemens will appear on a Hall of Fame ballot this year, starting the clock for Hall of Fame eligibility. If he makes an appearance in the Major Leagues, Hall of Fame voters will get five more years to forget about Clemens’ possible connections with performance-enhancing drugs.
For his part though, Roger Clemens said he’s not so sure he could be MLB ready this season. Still, Houston had a scout at both of his games with the Skeeters.
“At this point I don’t see that happening, because I just know my recovery time right now,” Roger Clemens told ESPN. “And I think I’ve pushed my body and shoulder to where it needs to be.”
But he did leave the door open to one day return to the Majors.
“I would have to get ready,” Clemens said. “It would be fun. There’s no reason why I couldn’t do it next year.”