Texas interested if Clemens pitches again

Originally Published: December 18, 2003
ESPN.com news services

The Astros are not the only team interested in luring Roger Clemens out of retirement.

Rangers owner Tom Hicks met privately with Clemens at The Ballpark in Arlington on Wednesday, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. Hicks reportedly told Clemens that if the Rocket has second thoughts about retirement, the Rangers would be interested.

"Roger is retired, and I believe he's going to stay retired," Hicks told the newspaper. "But I told him if he reconsiders, we would be extremely interested and have had success in the past with a player who was in a similar situation."

After Andy Pettitte left the Yankees for the Astros, it was rumored that his good friend Clemens might resume his career in Houston. However, the Rangers may have an advantage since they are in the American League and are still close to Clemens' home -- the Houston suburb of Katy.

Astros first baseman Jeff Bagwell played golf with Clemens on Tuesday, but Bagwell said he did not put pressure on the future Hall of Famer to unretire and join the Astros. "We had lunch, and he just expressed how he was feeling," Bagwell told the Houston Chronicle on Wednesday. "It has to be a tough thing, because he has a family that he wants to spend time with. I think it's intrigued him, but he has some key issues."

The Astros' and Rangers' efforts are moot if Clemens decides to stay retired. And that's exactly what Yankees manager Joe Torre believes he will do. Clemens said all year he intended to retire after the 2003 season, his 20th in the major leagues.

Torre said it was only natural that the Rocket would have second thoughts.

"It seems like a natural thing. Sort of reminds you of Warren Spahn, pitch every Sunday," Torre said Wednesday.

Clemens, 41, went 17-9 with a 3.91 ERA last season for the Yankees. The six-time Cy Young Award winner has 310 wins, 17th on the career list, and needs 38 strikeouts to move into second place ahead of Steve Carlton, who has 4,136.

"I'm doubtful that he'll be back," Torre said. "I think he was ready to do it."

Even though Clemens lives in the Houston area, he'd still have to make road trips at times if he resumed his career with a Texas team.

"Even though it's not New York, he's still going to be away a lot," Torre said. "But again, that's his decision. He certainly could come back and pitch, and pitch effectively. I don't think there's any doubt in anybody's mind after winning that many games last year. But I don't think he's going to do that."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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