Wells doesn't agree with Clemens not traveling

Updated: May 8, 2007, 10:05 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Roger Clemens has a big challenge ahead of him to get in shape and take the mound for the New York Yankees. But some around baseball think the Rocket is getting off too easy.

David Wells
Wells

According to his contract, Clemens will not be forced to travel with the team when he isn't scheduled to pitch. He had the same deal with the Houston Astros. David Wells, a Yankees teammate of Clemens' in 2002 and 2003, doesn't agree with that.

"I don't think I would ever do it because of the fact I personally think it would disrespect the team and your teammates," Wells said, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "You look at the other players. How are they going to respect you? What are they going to think if you're not there pulling for the team?"

Clemens a No. 2 or 3?
If you're wondering just where Roger Clemens will slot in the Yankees' rotation when he rejoins the club somewhere around June 1, look no further than No. 3 starter Mike Mussina.

"Roger is very good, but somewhere between a No. 2 and No. 3 starter is more likely what he's capable of being," Mussina said Monday, according to The New York Times. "Everyone has to remember that he's 44 going on 45 [in August]. He's not what he was the last time he was here."

Matt DeSalvo, the sixth Yankees rookie to make a start this season, pitched well Monday but got a no-decision in New York's 3-2 loss to the Mariners. If anything, Mussina said, Clemens' arrival would give the club as a whole some peace of mind.

"It removes the questions about whoever was going to be out there instead of him," Mussina said.

-- ESPN.com news services

Future Hall of Famer Greg Maddux agreed with his San Diego Padres teammate.

"I can't imagine doing that," Maddux said, according to the Sun-Sentinel. "I like the game. I like the atmosphere. I appreciate what it has to offer. I want to play the whole year."

Wells was part of the trade with the Toronto Blue Jays that brought Clemens to the Bronx. The pair were then Yankee teammates beginning in 2002. Although Joe Torre said he cleared Clemens' arrangement with his veteran players, Wells told the Sun-Sentinel, "That's not the Yankee way. The Yankees have changed."

Clemens has been in such hot demand he has the luxury to not put his 44-year-old body through the extreme rigors of travel. But the pitcher knows that age won't be an excuse if he can't get into condition to help the Yankees.

"Mr. Steinbrenner, he doesn't care how old I am," Clemens said Monday. "He wants me to come back and play like I have in the past."

Clemens announced Sunday from owner George Steinbrenner's box that he was rejoining the Yankees. The Rocket has won seven Cy Young awards and two World Series rings. He will be paid about $18.5 million this season, but that's not what brought him back.

"If you think it's about money, you're greatly mistaken. I'm not going to put my body through the paces I put my body through to earn a few more dollars," Clemens said at a charity golf tournament.

Describing the decision to play for the Yankees, Clemens said it was a situation that unfolded very quickly.

"I didn't know the details of my contract sitting down yesterday," he said. "That's how quick the decision was made to do this."

Having played for Steinbrenner before, Clemens said all the right things about why he is returning to the Bronx.

"You're talking seven long years that we haven't been in the winners' circle," he said.

It's his past performances that earned Clemens a return trip to New York. He won titles in 1999 and 2000, then helped the Yankees reach the World Series in 2001 and 2003. They lost that final appearance to the Florida Marlins in what was billed as Clemens' farewell to baseball.

But when the Yanks let pitcher Andy Pettitte go to Houston as a free agent, Clemens changed his mind and followed his close friend to the Astros, where he pitched three more seasons.

The Yankees will pay about $26 million in salary and luxury tax in a one-year deal for the Rocket.

Money Ball
The Rockets' $28M deal leaves a lot to the imagination. What would you do with that kind of cash? Well, Clemens could field an All-Star team all his own. New York's newest addition could afford the lineup below and still have change to spare.
Starting Lineup For Under $28M
Position Player Salary
Pitcher Brandon Webb $4,500,000
Catcher Joe Mauer $3,750,000
1B Ryan Howard $900,000
2B Robinson Cano $490,800
3B Miguel Cabrera $7,400,000
SS J.J. Hardy $400,000
OF Josh Hamilton $380,000
OF Alex Rios $2,535,000
OF Matt Holliday $4,400,000
DH Sammy Sosa $500,000
**Lineup worth $25,255,800

It's still uncertain when Clemens will make his debut this season. He said that will depend on how his preparations and conditioning go.

He'll start out in the minor leagues with workouts in Lexington, Ky., where his son, Koby, is playing with a Houston Astros' farm team.

Clemens is second on the career strikeouts list with 4,604 and has 348 career wins, putting him eighth on the list. Last season with Houston, he was 7-6 with a 2.30 ERA.

When asked whether this would be his last season in baseball, Clemens smiled a bit and declined to say.

"You know I'd be lying to you all if I said it again, because I'm not good at it," he said. "It's great to be able to make a great living, but when it's all said and done it's about how many rings that you have."

The more he thought about it, Wells warmed up to the idea of going for those rings as a part-time player.

"Roger might set the tone for the 40-and-above guys," Wells said, according to the Sun-Sentinel. "Hey, I might do it. He's a smart businessman."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.