Roger Clemens allows only one hit, fastball at 88 mph
SUGAR LAND, Texas -- After five years of rest, Roger Clemens passed yet another professional baseball test.
The seven-time Cy Young Award winner took the mound at the age of 50 Saturday night and pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings for the Sugar Land Skeeters in their 1-0 Atlantic League win over the Bridgeport Bluefish.
"I know it wasn't five years ago, but it was pretty good," Clemens said. "If we put a smile on everybody's faces, it was well worth it."
He retired the first five Bridgeport batters, including former major-leaguer Joey Gathright on a swinging strikeout to lead off the game.
Clemens pitched to 11 batters and allowed only one baserunner on a line-drive single over the second baseman's head with two outs in the second inning. He struck out two. His fastball topped out at 88 mph and he threw 37 pitches, 24 for strikes.
The Astros and Royals had scouts at the game, but Clemens maintained that he is not coming back to the big leagues.
"I've had success before at that level. It's a great deal of work," he said. "I'm not thinking that at this point."
Clemens said he is open to pitching for the Skeeters again. He said he will call manager Gary Gaetti in the next couple of days to discuss his options.
"He likes to pitch and he wants to pitch again," Gaetti said before the game. "We can afford him an opportunity to do that. What he decides after that is up to him."
Gaetti said he offered Clemens a contract before the season began. Clemens lives in the Houston area and graduated from Spring Woods High School, which is about 20 minutes away from the Skeeters' home of Constellation Field.
He looked the sharpest in the first inning. After striking out Gathright, he induced a ground ball to second, then picked up a called third strike on a nifty slurve.
Clemens seemed to be gassed as the third inning ended and when he warmed up for the fourth inning. He threw only one pitch in the fourth, inducing a flyout to leftfield.
After that, Clemens walked off the field to a standing ovation. He tipped his cap to the crowd twice.
Shortly after last week's announcement that Clemens would return to pro baseball, he said he wanted to take a wait-and-see approach with anything beyond this game. Astros scouts were present at his Skeeters workout before the announcement even though he has not said he wants to pitch in the majors again.