Roger Clemens still insists he has no plans to pitch for the Houston Astros this season.
The 50-year-old Clemens is preparing for his second start with the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League on Friday. He will throw to his oldest son, Koby, when he starts against the Long Island Ducks.
The pair met with reporters Thursday, and the seven-time Cy Young Award winner again was questioned about the possibility of a return to the majors this season.
”I don’t think I could make an impact,” Clemens said when asked about pitching for the last-place 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.”
The Astros have two homestands remaining. They face two teams that are out of contention next week in the Cubs and Phillies. The last homestand beginning Sept. 21 features Pittsburgh and St. Louis, both in the NL wild-card hunt.
Houston has said it would be open to the idea of bringing back Clemens. The Astros sent a scout to watch his first outing for the Skeeters and plan to do so again Friday.
”That’s fantastic, but I don’t think I’m close to doing that,” Clemens said. ”If my body felt better and my shoulder felt better, and I rebounded quicker, it would be something I would think about doing, even go to spring training and do it for fun.”
Clemens also was noncommittal about playing past Friday for the Skeeters, but he left open the possibility of pitching elsewhere in the future.
”If this situation arises again, or if there is a new ballpark somewhere else around town, and we have a chance to make it exciting and fun, and if I feel like I can get out of bed, I might do it,” he said.
The Rocket tossed 3 1/3 scoreless innings in his first start for the Skeeters last month. He last pitched in the majors for the New York Yankees in 2007.
In June, Clemens was acquitted of charges he lied to Congress when he denied using performance-enhancing drugs.
For now, he’s excited about playing with his son on Friday. The two were teammates in 2006 when the elder Clemens was making his comeback with the Astros and pitched a game for Class-A Lexington. This one is different, though, because Koby played third base in that game.
Roger Clemens beamed as his son talked about catching him, and raved about his 25-year-old boy.
”I’m glad he’s here,” the elder Clemens said. ”This is going to be fun not only for my family, but everybody in the local area for this team. I’m glad the kid’s here. He’s a pro at what he does and we’re going to have some fun with it. It will be business as usual.”
The Blue Jays released Koby Clemens, who has never advanced past the Triple-A level, early so he could sign with the Skeeters and play with his father.
”It’s a special moment for me,” said Koby, who is several inches shorter than his father but has facial features that heavily favor him. ”It’s going to be pretty much like a major league kind of deal for me. I’m really excited about it.”
Father and son both laughed when Roger was asked how much he would shake off Koby behind the plate on Friday.
”Uh, that’s a great question there,” Roger Clemens said. ”That could cause a little problem at the house later.”
He said he expects to pitch about three or four innings and then let the regular players ”try to win a ballgame.”
For the first time, Clemens is set to appear on the Hall of Fame ballot going out to voters late this year. If he plays in a major league game this season, his timetable would be pushed back five years.
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 Clemens had 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 had largely stayed out of the public spotlight until signing with the Skeeters on Aug. 20.