Clemens rules out returning as player

Updated: November 13, 2003, 9:31 AM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- With thoughts of an Olympic medal now gone, Roger Clemens insisted his retirement will go forward as planned.

"No scenario," Clemens said Wednesday when asked what might entice him to pitch next season. "I'm retired.

"I'll come back and be a really expensive batting practice pitcher and then, if somebody goes down, then they can work on me."

The future Hall of Famer acknowledged that he had thoughts of pitching for the U.S. Olympic baseball team before the defending gold-medal champions were eliminated from a qualifying tournament in Panama last week.

"I'm shaking my head just like everyone else that they're going to have an Olympics and we, the United States, is not going to be represented there," Clemens said. "That's kind of a shame."

An Olympic medal is about the only thing missing from Clemens' resume. He is baseball's only six-time Cy Young Award winner, 17th on the all-time list with 310 victories and third with 4,099 strikeouts. He also has two World Series rings from his time with the New York Yankees.

Clemens said that his agents wanted to make him available as a free agent -- his name was officially filed last week -- but the plan didn't get far.

"I heard that and immediately my four boys picked up my option and said 'You're staying here,' " Clemens said.

Another person expecting to be home when next season rolls around is Don Zimmer, the fiery former bench coach who famously rushed Boston pitcher Pedro Martinez on the field, and left the Yankees after saying he felt unappreciated by owner George Steinbrenner.

Calling speculation that he may end up with Tampa Bay "propaganda," Zimmer said, "I'll probably be at home sitting on the boat dock" next year.

Still uncertain is the future of pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre. Yankees manager Joe Torre said he expects to hear by the end of this week if Stottlemyre plans to be back for next season or not.

"I don't have a gut feeling," Torre said about what he believes Stottlemyre's decision will be.

As for his own future, Torre maintained that he didn't want a contract extension past next season, saying he didn't want to commit to something that he wasn't sure he wanted to do.

"I have a year left here and I want it to be meaningful," he said.

Torre wasn't as upset as Steinbrenner about Kansas City shortstop Angel Berroa beating out New York left fielder Hideki Matsui for AL Rookie of the Year, saying Berroa's numbers were "worthy."

Torre, however, was upset by two writers who left Matsui off their ballots because they believed veterans of Japanese leagues shouldn't be eligible for the award.

"Getting left off two ballots is hard for me to take," Torre said, "because his numbers dictate that he should have been on the ballot somewhere. He didn't have to be voted first but he should have been on the ballot."

Torre, Zimmer and Clemens, along with current and former Yankees and other stars such as comedian Billy Crystal were gathered for a dinner benefiting Torre's "Safe at Home" Foundation, which helps victims of domestic abuse.


Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press

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