Astros owner tries to squelch trade rumors
It appears it will take a lot more than a lack of run support to push Roger Clemens out of Houston.
Astros owner Drayton McLane said on Thursday that, despite budding reports that Clemens could be moved to a contender later this summer, he would not be trading the future Hall of Fame right-hander.
"There are no conditions under which I would do that," McLane told The Sporting News. "I'm committed to winning, not breaking up a team."
Reports surfaced earlier this week that McLane may have had an oral agreement with Clemens to send him to a team with playoff hopes if Houston fell out of the chase.
"I would never have agreed to that," he told The Sporting News.
Clemens, 42, would receive a $3 million bonus in addition to his $18 million salary if he were traded.
McLane added that he feels obligated to both Clemens and his fans to continue to try to put the best product possible out on the field.
"Integrity and honesty -- those are some of the main reasons I wouldn't (trade Clemens)," McLane said in the interview. "People are very excited about Roger. He has won seven Cy Youngs. He's a Houston person, a Texan.
"I would be going against their desires to see him, the people who bought tickets. I'm committed to winning. I'm a very loyal person. (A trade) is not something I'd consider."
Clemens, who is tied with Florida's Dontrelle Willis for the National League ERA lead at 1.29, has been victimized repeatedly this season by the Astros' struggling offense. In April, Clemens earned no-decisions in three straight starts (all 1-0 Houston losses), despite not allowing a run in 21 innings in those starts.
The Astros are hopeful Friday's return of Lance Berkman from offseason knee surgery will provide a boost to the lineup.
Information from The Sporting News was used in this report.