Crane says Clemens may pitch for Astros this year

Associated Press Modified: September 10, 2012 at 10:21 pm •  Published: September 10, 2012
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HOUSTON (AP) — Astros owner Jim Crane thinks Roger Clemens' comeback could continue in Houston. That would be news to the 50-year-old right-hander, who doesn't sound too interested in the idea.

Crane said Monday there's a possibility Clemens could pitch this season for the majors' worst team.

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

The last-place Astros started a weeklong homestand on 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.

But Clemens said Monday night the only way he would pitch this season was against a team in contention.

"I can tell you right now and they would know too, that if I was going to go do it, I am going to pitch against a contender, that's who I want to knock out," Clemens told Houston television station KRIV. "Why would I want to waste my time running around and getting in shape. I get over to Minute Maid (Park), I'll crank it up and get it over 90 for a contender. We'll knock them right out of the playoffs. That would be the fun. Pitching against somebody that's not in contention wouldn't be any fun for me."

"It's not going to happen."

A message was left seeking comment from Clemens' agent, Randy Hendricks.

Crane 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 3 1-3 scoreless innings in his first start for Sugar Land of the independent Atlantic league, and didn't allow a run in 4 2-3 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. "The words that I've heard Roger say suggest that that's not front and center in his mind. At this point I'm not expecting it."