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Astros owner Jim Crane open to having Roger Clemens make a start this season

Roger Clemens may be 50 years old and five years removed from baseball, but that hasn’t stopped him from continuing his career. Clemens is scheduled to pitch for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the Atlantic League on Saturday, and if the rumors are true The Rocket still has some pretty nasty stuff in his arsenal. If he performs well this weekend and is interested in returning to the MLB, the Astros just might have him.

Astros owner Jim Crane told FOX 26 Sports on Thursday that he is open to the idea of having Clemens make a start for Houston this season. Sounds like a major publicity stunt for the worst team in baseball, doesn’t it? Crane insists that wouldn’t be the case.

“If it goes alright (with Sugar Land) and he comes to us, we’ll talk to baseball about it at length,” Crane said. “The only thing we don’t want to do is make it a publicity stunt. If we did it, I want to try and take it and turn it into a positive, which would be Roger’s doing it for the good of baseball. The extra proceeds on the game might go to the (Astros’) community charity deal to build (baseball) fields, do something positive out of it.”

If you’re making a baseball decision that has nothing to do with winning a baseball game, it’s always going to be viewed as a publicity stunt in some capacity. Raising money for charities would be nice, but the Astros would be lying if they said they aren’t desperate to sell tickets and salvage something from their abysmal season.

“I think the fans might like it,” Crane continued. “It might be fun and certainly get a few people in the ballpark. I don’t see anything negative about that, but the Astros wouldn’t want to do it for the money, the extra gate or anything like that.”

Would a sell out during a season in which your team ranks in the bottom four in the league in attendance be nice, Jim? You bet it would be.

H/T Hardball Talk
Photo via Sugar Land Skeeters

Roger Clemens to pitch for independent Sugar Land Skeeters; Astros scouted him

Roger Clemens is attempting a pitching comeback, and the Houston Astros might be interested in him.

Clemens worked out for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the South Atlantic League on Monday, and the Astros’ scouting director was in attendance, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.

The 50-year-old reportedly hit 87mph on his fastball and showed good command with his breaking stuff. That was enough to convince the Skeeters to sign the seven-time Cy Young Award winner.

“Roger came to work out for us today, and we were very impressed,” said Tal Smith, who is a special advisor for the Sugar Land Skeeters and former president of the Astros.

“He had great command of all his pitches and we couldn’t be more excited about this signing,” Smith said in a press release.

The Astros bullpen catcher caught Clemens and said his splitter was still nasty. Clemens is scheduled to make his first start with the Skeeters on Saturday.

Rosenthal raises the possibility that the Astros could consider signing Clemens to pitch when rosters expand next month because he would be a box office draw. I frankly don’t think it would be a bad idea. I know if Clemens made it back to the big leagues I sure as heck would want to see how he could do at his age.

Another thing to consider is that Clemens may want to pitch again in the majors because it would postpone his appearance on the Hall of Fame ballot. Players are eligible for Hall of Fame voting five years after playing their last big-league game. Clemens will be on the ballot in 2013 and would likely not be seen favorably because of his ties to PED-usage. This might be a way to postpone the embarrassment that would come with receiving a low percentage of votes.

Photo via Sugar Land Skeeters

Mike Piazza’s wife says Mike thinks Roger Clemens was on steroids during the whole broken bat incident (Video)

Mike Piazza and Roger Clemens do not like each other. That’s about as much of a well-kept baseball secret as Ozzie Guillen’s temper. As far as the courts are concerned, Clemens did not lie about taking steroids. Whether you choose to believe he did or not is totally up to you. As you can see from the TMZ.com video above, Piazza’s wife and former Playmate Alicia Rickter has no problem selling him out and letting the world know his personal opinions.

I don’t think anyone could blame Mike if he did think Clemens was on steroids during the 2000 World Series. A lot of people not named Jose Canseco think Clemens took steroids, and those people didn’t have the other half of their shattered broken bat spiked at them as though they broke it intentionally to try to hurt Roger. Judging by some of the stuff Piazza said while doing his best Peter from “Office Space” impression, you can tell he does not like Clemens. You can also tell he didn’t want to talk about it but his wife (who may or may not have had a couple of cocktails during dinner) forced him into it.

My personal favorite part had to be when Piazza called Clemens a “great pitcher” and his wife’s jaw dropped. I’m guessing somebody doesn’t have nice things to say about The Rocket when the cameras aren’t rolling.

H/T Hardball Talk

Jose Canseco says he believes Roger Clemens never took steroids

When it comes to people with knowledge of steroids and the way they were used across Major League Baseball, nobody beats Jose Canseco. Since he wrote his book “Juiced,” Jose has established a fairly solid track record of identifying those who cheated by using performance-enhancing drugs. With the Roger Clemens trial getting uglier by the day, it’s starting to look like The Rocket may never get caught, assuming he used steroids. According to Canseco, that is not an assumption we should be making.

“I ain’t no f***ing liar,” Canseco told CBS Boston when asked if he protected Clemens in his book. “I believe (Clemens). You have to understand this, everyone came to me for steroids and information back then, I was the man, period. He never brought it up that he ever wanted to use it, acquire it period. Roger to me was the straightest guy I’ve ever seen in my life, I never saw him cheat on his wife, I never saw him flirt, nothing.”

Canseco is seen by many as a traitor and a rat, which is why he says “Juiced” has ruined his life despite the fact that he was trying to fix what was wrong with baseball. However, his reason for believing Clemens doesn’t exactly make Clemens innocent. Just because Roger never consulted Canseco about using steroids or brought it up to him does not mean Clemens never touched them. That being said, I do believe Canseco when he says he did not protect Clemens in his book. Protecting Clemens would mean selling less copies, and we all know Jose has tremendous respect for the power of the dollar.

Two jurors have been dismissed from the Roger Clemens trial for sleeping

I haven’t been following the Roger Clemens trial because, quite frankly, I don’t care. I’m tired of Clemens. I’m tired of talk about performance-enhancing drugs. I don’t think, at this point, the findings of a government-led witch hunt are going to change many people’s opinion of Clemens. I’m definitely not a legal junkie. And, honestly, I’m not really a fan of “celebrity” trials that don’t involve decidedly sordid or salacious subject matter. (It’s true. Michael Jackson and O.J. Simpson have spoiled me). I’m completely indifferent to the whole spectacle.

Apparently I’m not the only one failing to muster any interest in this case. Here’s the AP:

The trial is in its fifth week, and the tedium cost the proceedings another member of the jury Tuesday. Juror No. 1, a supermarket cashier, became the second member of the panel to be dismissed for sleeping. Her departure leaves 14 jurors, including two alternates.

So there you go. The most interesting piece of information from the Clemens trial thus far is that two people have been kicked off the jury because of how boring it is.

That might be as good as this trial gets. But if you’re desperate for anything else fascinating about this case, you might want to check out the profiles of the remaining jury members. Juror No. 3 likes reading and baking. Juror No. 8 enjoys photography and fabric art.

Photo credit: Brett Davis-US PRESSWIRE

Koby Clemens Banned from Winter League Baseball After Going AWOL

Roger Clemens’ 24-year-old son, Koby Clemens, was banned from winter league baseball last Wednesday.  Clemens, who has been in the Houston Astros farm system since 2005, had been playing winter ball with the Mayaguez Indians in Puerto Rico.  Last week, he abandoned the team without giving any reason for his departure.  According to a report from a Puerto Rican newspaper that was translated by Hardball Talk, the team has filed paperwork as a result which bans him from playing winter ball in Puerto Rico, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, or Venezuela.

“The paperwork will explain that he didn’t give reasons for abandoning the team,” team owner Daniel Aquino explained. “With this document we’re meeting the rules of the Caribbean Baseball Confederation, which assert that no one who abandons a team without good reason can play in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, or Venezuela … I’d like the fans and everyone else to know that we’re not looking to sanction Clemens. Even less do we wish to do him harm. We’re only following procedure.”

Naturally, the question now becomes why he did this.  Aquino said reports that Roger Clemens advised Koby to leave the team after Wilson Ramos was kidnapped are false.  Regardless of the reason, this sounds like something a high school freshman would pull if they were hoping to make varsity but only made the freshmen team.  Why a 24-year-old man would bail on a team without reason is pretty puzzling.

Report: Roger Clemens and Jason Giambi Drank Beer in the Dugout

As if we needed further confirmation that the Boston Red Sox aren’t the only team that has beer in its clubhouse, we now have reason to believe their biggest rivals have a history of imbibing as well.  Since the original report surfaced that the Sox starting pitchers drank and ate fast food during games this season, there has been a massive domino effect.  For the most part, the fans are outraged while the players insist having a few beers during the game is part of life in the MLB.

A.J. Pierzynski admitted players need a “rally beer” sometimes while Jack McKeon said he’s always had to lock the clubhouse to keep certain pitchers from heading in for a drink on days they aren’t starting.  On Thursday morning, the NY Daily News cited baseball insider sources who say Roger Clemens and Jason Giambi routinely drank beer in the dugout — something the Red Sox have vehemently denied ever having done.

According to one of the insiders, Jason Giambi and Roger Clemens would routinely drink beer on the dugout bench when they played for the Yankees, passing back and forth what Giambi called his “protein shake,” code for a cup of beer, the source said.

And they weren’t the only ones who partook. “Rally beers are big in the clubhouse,” one insider said. “Guys would drink them all the time, on the bench, in the clubhouse, in the training room. It’s common.”

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