Clemens to make comeback in Atlantic League
Seven-time Cy Young Award winner expected to start Saturday night
Roger Clemens, the seven-time Cy Young Award winner who turned 50 earlier this month, is returning to a professional baseball mound.
Randy Hendricks, Clemens' agent, and Matt O'Brien, president of the Sugar Land Skeeters, confirmed that Clemens worked out with the Skeeters on Monday and was planning to sign with the Atlantic League club.
The Skeeters later sent a press release to make the signing official. Clemens will be in uniform on Friday and is scheduled to start for the Skeeters on Saturday in Sugar Land.
"It is a local, fun, one-start-at-a-time type of thing," Hendricks said. "Roger looked good today, throwing 87 mph with all four pitches working.
"The hitters will let all of us know on Saturday whether he should come back."
Astros director of scouting Mike Elias watched Clemens throw Monday, according to an industry source.
Hendricks added that Clemens and Skeeters manager Gary Gaetti, who was hitting coach of the Astros during part of Clemens' tenure in Houston, had been talking for several months about a possible return.
The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball is not affiliated with Major League Baseball. Clemens, who won 354 games over his 24-year Major League career, attended high school near Houston and college at the University of Texas.
Clemens won 20 or more games in a season on four occasions. He spent the first 13 years of his big league career with the Red Sox before a two-year stint in Toronto, a five-year stay with the Yankees, a three-year homecoming in Houston and a brief return to the Yankees in 2007, his final Major League season.
In June, the 11-time All-Star was found not guilty on all six counts of lying to Congress, to whom he once testified that he never took performance-enhancing drugs.
The Skeeters are managed by former third baseman Gary Gaetti, who played on two All-Star teams and won four Gold Glove Awards during his 20-year career that lasted from 1981-2000.
A slew of marquee Major Leaguers have suited up for Independent League squads over the years. Jose Canseco has toured a number of leagues on the independent circuit since 2006. The 48-year-old is currently signed to a one-year deal with the Worcester Tornadoes of the Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball.
The Dodgers signed Rickey Henderson after the Newark Bears outfielder won the Atlantic League's All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award in 2003. Pitcher Jose Lima also donned a Bears uniform that season. Henderson played for the San Diego Surf Dawgs of the Golden Baseball League in 2005.
Three-time All-Star Carlos Baerga spent time with the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League in 2001 before another four-year stint in the Majors. Controversial reliever John Rocker played for the Ducks in 2005.
Darryl Strawberry played for the St. Paul Saints of the now-defunct Northern League for about two months in 1996.