Roger Clemens is the first one to admit it: With all of two short starts for the independent Sugar Land Skeeters under his belt, he isn’t ready to pitch in the major leagues this year.
After making his second appearance for the Skeeters Friday night, Clemens said of playing for the Astros, “At this point I don’t see that happening.” His body, and his recovery time, was not where they would have to be, he further explained.
But as David Barron and Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle reported, Houston Astros owner Jim Crane is still feeding the rumors:
Crane’s comments came Monday at Minute Maid Park before the Cubs-Astros game. Asked about the possibility that Clemens could pitch this year with the Astros, Crane replied, “That’s still up in the air. We certainly would take a call from Roger.”
And now we pause to note another Barron story, on the weekend’s sports TV ratings. He reported that the Astros game against the Reds on Sunday, which went head-to-head with the Houston Texans’ season opener, might be the least-watched televised game in team history, with an average audience of 1,092 households. Let that number sink in, then consider this: More Fox Sports Southwest viewers in Houston watched the Rice-Kansas game Saturday.
With this in mind, it’s fair to ask, would one night of publicity, circus or no circus, be such a bad thing for the struggling baseball club?
But here’s the catch: Crane and Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow told the Chronicle that Clemens wouldn’t pitch in any games where the opposing team was fighting for a playoff spot.
“I do believe that maintaining the integrity of the playoffs is always high on our priority list,” said Luhnow, who also stressed that the team had no plans to change