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Astros were impressed by Roger Clemens’ start Saturday night in independent ball

Aug 26, 2012, 2:17 PM EDT

clemens getty Getty Images

Astros owner Jim Crane told the FOX affiliate in Houston late last week that he would be “open” to discussing a contract with Roger Clemens if the veteran right-hander proved capable of getting outs.

Which is why it should come as no surprise that the Astros were watching closely as Clemens tossed 3 1/3 scoreless innings Saturday night for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League.

Here is Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, discussing the brief but effective outing Sunday in a chat with Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle:

“He looked good,” said Luhnow. “He certainly can compete at that independent ball level. We’ll see how he feels after doing that yesterday, but he certainly is impressive given the fact that he hasn’t pitched in so many years and with his age. I don’t know what he intends to do. I think a lot of that will have to do with how he feels after (Saturday). Recovery time is probably a little different for somebody who hasn’t pitched in so long.”

Clemens hasn’t appeared in a major league game since the 2007 season. He told reporters after his start Saturday in southeast Texas that he will ice up for a few days before deciding what he’d like to do next.

  1. derekjetersmansion - Aug 26, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    Does anyone think he’s doing this to reset his Hall of Fame clock?

    • raysfan1 - Aug 26, 2012 at 4:20 PM

      Does anyone not think that?

      • hokiegajanisgod - Aug 27, 2012 at 12:04 AM

        He’s not thinking HOF; he’s trying to catch, and then surpass, Greg Maddux in wins. He’s one behind Maddux who is at 355 wins.

        Two wins puts Clemens in 8th place in all time wins. Hell, if he could win 12 more games he could get to 4th place in all time wins…4th place!

        He’s already a HOF’er; he’s not thinking of that.

    • hokiegajanisgod - Aug 27, 2012 at 12:04 AM

      No, he’s not thinking HOF; he’s trying to catch, and then surpass, Greg Maddux in wins. He’s one behind Maddux who is at 355 wins.

      Two wins puts Clemens in 8th place in all time wins. Hell, if he could win 12 more games he could get to 4th place in all time wins…4th place!

      He’s already a HOF’er; he’s not thinking of that.

  2. royalsfaninfargo - Aug 26, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    If this happens espn will have found their new Tebow.

  3. cosanostra71 - Aug 26, 2012 at 2:29 PM

    of course

  4. randygnyc - Aug 26, 2012 at 2:36 PM

    There is no doubt Roger could compete as a reliever. The problem there is you can’t sell tickets for someone who may or may not get in a game. I can’t see how he won’t get a shot here. Clock reset.

    • Detroit Michael - Aug 26, 2012 at 7:32 PM

      It seems to me also that Clemens could be a league-average reliever at least. If he’s willing to come back as a reliever (at least as first), I don’t know why the Astros wouldn’t call him up for September. Openings on their 40-man roster can’t be that hard to find.

      I’d think that most fans in Houston (unlike much of the country) would cheer for Clemens.

  5. wetmorepsu12 - Aug 26, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    i for one was not overly impressed by his performance. from what i saw, it seemed many of his pitches caught a little too much of the plate, which you can get away with in independent ball. major league hitters wont be as forgiving, though.

  6. theawesomersfranchise - Aug 26, 2012 at 3:06 PM

    Please come back and get destroyed to put the cherry on top.

    Juicing since the 80’s and upgrading year after year.
    Despicable human being

    Blah Blah Blah Roger “sideshow” Clemens and the worthless garbage franchise that is the Astros trying to make a few bucks on the sideshow.

    Why not bring back the Spaceman? He just threw a CG

  7. mvpolamalu - Aug 26, 2012 at 3:47 PM

    I would much rather have clemens all day than tebow

  8. dondada10 - Aug 26, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    Realistically the Astros are only looking for an inning pitched from Rocket. Have him start “Roger Clemens Day” and have a real starter warming up behind him.

  9. xmatt0926x - Aug 26, 2012 at 4:35 PM

    It’s a shame he didn’t try to drop a few pounds before doing this. I keep hearing from the announcers and analysts that he’s in “great shape”. Yeah right. He could barely keep those extra 40lbs in his uniform last night. Come on Roger. If you’re going to put everyone through the Brett Favre nonsense at least do some jogging and throw in a salad here and there. Hell, do low carb for a couple weeks just to take some of the bloat out.

    • stex52 - Aug 26, 2012 at 10:06 PM

      Agreed. Serious weight issues.

  10. Old Gator - Aug 26, 2012 at 4:39 PM

    Gonna be interested in stex’s take on this, but from where I sit following up on another tropical storm brownout while we wait for the next set of rain bands to whump us, it’s hard to imagine any team with a better record than the Astros being impressed by a 50-year-old pitcher’s performance against a team of washouts, has beens, never-wuzzes and near-amateurs.

    • paperlions - Aug 26, 2012 at 4:55 PM

      I think the Astros were more impressed with the attendance at that game than with his performance.

      • stex52 - Aug 26, 2012 at 8:46 PM

        One other comment. Clemens was certainly a great pitcher in his time, and there is no particular reason to believe that much of it was PED-fueled. I am not particularly a fan, given his behavior in his personal life, but a couple of comments I will make.

        1. His teammates appear to have a much more positive view of him than those of us outside the game.
        2. He was asked about resetting the clock by the Houston press and said it was not an issue at all.

        It’s easy to be cynical, and I obviously don’t know the true answer. But offered what I have heard.

      • dirtyharry1971 - Aug 26, 2012 at 9:56 PM

        i think you are brain dead

      • stex52 - Aug 26, 2012 at 10:05 PM

        Thanks, dirty, for that insightful addition. Would you care to elaborate a bit?

    • stex52 - Aug 26, 2012 at 8:35 PM

      I watched him. A bunch of friends were at the game (just a few miles away). Wish I’d had a ticket, but we didn’t know Clemens would be there when they bought up the set.

      I watched on ESPN. He certainly had Curt Schilling and Danny Graves drooling all over him. I think Clemens will be a little more realistic. I am no one’s expert, but it strikes me that at 87 mph on the fastball he is going to need a lot of breaking stuff. And the stuff I saw looked to be over the place. I saw one curve ball that did a wicked 12-6 action, but MLB hitters will wait to make sure he puts stuff over the plate. As with the Luhnow rebuild, count me as a skeptic.

      And, as to attendance, you bet I’m more likely to go to a Skeeters game than an Astros game right now. If I want to see a bunch of minor leaguers, they cost a lot less in Sugarland. And I think that is where Clemens probably belongs, too.

      The most interesting thing to me last night was watching Clemens lecture Kazmir on the split finger fastball on the sidelines.

  11. snowbirdgothic - Aug 26, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    The Astros were impressed with 86-88 mp velocity and an unwillingness to throw the fastball? Much about their current record and roster construction is now explained.

  12. thetooloftools - Aug 26, 2012 at 6:27 PM

    This P.O.S. should never be allowed to pitch anywhere. Andy Petite with “selective amnesia” is a joke.

  13. rickhigginshtbro - Aug 26, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    maybe he wants to see if he can top Old Man Moyer? He has him beat when it comes to velocity.

  14. j0esixpack - Aug 26, 2012 at 11:21 PM

    If he’s throwing 88 mph fast balls at age 50 in his first game back after 5 years, it’s not difficult to expect he could get back to the mid 90s with just some stretching out and mechanic adjustments.

  15. congocash - Aug 27, 2012 at 2:42 AM

    Clemmens has better ped drug dealers this time around…. He wont make the same mistakes again….

  16. stlouis1baseball - Aug 27, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    This stuff is amusing. It leaves me wondering why everyone bashing him isn’t looking the other way like they (and MLB) did when dudes were swelling up as big as houses in the 80’s, 90’s and early 2000’s. All the while…hitting 400+ lasers on a regular basis. Now…everyone is morally outraged.

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