Jeter thinks Clemens will pitch in majors in 2006
Jeter and Clemens, his former teammate, are both on the U.S. roster for next month's World Baseball Classic.
"If I had to guess, I would say yes," Jeter said Thursday after working out at the Yankees' minor league complex. "And that has nothing to do with anything that he's told me. I have not even asked him. I haven't even said, 'Rocket, are you playing? Thinking about playing?' I haven't even brought the question up."
Clemens is expected to decide after the Classic whether to return for a 23rd major league season. He led the major leagues with a 1.87 ERA last year, helping the Houston Astros win their first NL pennant. The 43-year-old right-hander was slowed by back and hamstring problems late in the season and left Game 1 of the World Series after two innings.
"I think if he plays [in the WBC], he's healthy, he feels good in terms of condition wise and physically, I think he'll play," Jeter said.
Clemens made an unexpected appearance at the start of the Astros' mini-camp on Jan. 30, pitching batting practice to prospects that included his oldest son, Koby.
"The Rocket is close to his family," Jeter said. "He really enjoys spending a lot of time with his kids. I think that's part of the reason why when he came back, he came back to Houston. He has the luxury of being at home."
"As of now, as a team and as an organization, we can't think about Rocket," Jeter said. "He hasn't made up his mind. Let him decide first. We need to focus on the guys that we have now. We have a great pitching staff."
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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