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Astros keeping door open for Clemens
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Houston • Roger Clemens' comeback might be headed to Houston. Well, Astros owner Jim Crane isn't ruling it out, at least. Crane said Monday there's a possibility the 50-year-old right-hander could pitch this season for the majors' worst team.

"We haven't heard from Roger, so that's still up in the air," Crane said.

The last-place Astros begin a weeklong homestand Monday that includes three games against the Cubs and four against the Phillies. Their only remaining home games after this stretch are against the Pirates and the Cardinals — two teams in postseason contention. Crane said he would not pitch the seven-time Cy Young Award winner against a contender, which leaves this week as the only option.

He wouldn't say whether the team will reach out and try to entice Clemens to return to the majors for the first time since pitching for the Yankees in 2007.

"We're just going to sit tight," Crane said. "We'll wait and see if he calls us, but we might call him, who knows?"

Clemens pitched 31⁄3 scoreless innings in his first start for Sugar Land of the independent Atlantic league, and didn't allow a run in 42⁄3 innings in his second start Friday.

When asked about pitching for Houston this season, Clemens said Friday he didn't see it happening because of the time it took him to recover from his first start.

The Astros sent a scout to watch both of his outings. General manager Jeff Luhnow said he didn't have any new information on the subject.

"Right now we have a six-man rotation and we've lined up that rotation for the rest of the year, so I'm not expecting any changes," he said.

Clemens earned $160 million and won 354 games in a 24-year career with the Red Sox, Yankees, Blue Jays and Astros. His 4,672 strikeouts are third-most, and he was selected for 11 All-Star games.

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.

The Rocket's fastball was clocked at as fast as 88 mph, and he also threw curves and splitters in his starts for the Skeeters. But it seems he isn't sure if his stuff is major league ready at this point.

"I don't think I could make an impact," Clemens said last week when asked about pitching for the Astros. "I think it would be fun for a lot of people, but it would take a lot of work to do and to perform the way I would want to perform. My mind says yes. My body says no."

MLB • Houston owner holds out hope that 50-year-old could pitch in majors this season.
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