TRENTON, N.J. -- Roger Clemens didn't look ready for the
major leagues on Wednesday night.
The seven-time Cy Young Award winner allowed three runs and six
hits in 5 1/3 innings while pitching for the New York Yankees'
Double-A Trenton farm team against Boston's Portland, Maine,
Clemens wasn't bothered by the results.
"So far so good," he said after his second minor league start
since signing with the Yankees.
Clemens refused to say where his next start for the Yankees
would be. He said he has told team officials how he feels, adding
that an intense bullpen workout on Friday might be the deciding
factor. He said his arm and legs both felt good.
"I felt the last three or four days when I backed off my routine to give my body a chance to catch up, I expected it to
respond well, and it did," Clemens said.
His pitching was shaky at times. He threw 64 of 102 pitches for
strikes, struggling with his control. He walked the bases loaded in
the first inning and walked in the tying run in the sixth.
Clemens would have been the losing pitcher but the Thunder tied
the game at 3-all in the ninth and won 4-3 in the 10th inning. By
that time, about 95 percent of the record crowd of 9,134 was gone,
with most walking out after giving the 44-year-old a standing
ovation after he was yanked because of his pitch count.
"I think throwing 102 pitches, that was what he was waiting
for," Yankees manager Joe Torre said.
They arrived three hours before the game and packed the first
base line to catch a glimpse of Clemens. He finally walked to the
bullpen about 30 minutes before the game and warmed up for 20
Clemens walked four, struck out five, hit a batter and threw a
wild pitch. He gave up four extra base hits, including three
doubles and a triple.
"It was one step in the right direction, a little further down
the road," Clemens said. "I'm glad to get one more done."
The fans were funny though.
After Clemens threw two balls to start the game, one yelled:
"Come on throw a strike!"
Clemens had planned to throw 70-75 pitches but he was at the
number after four innings. He got through the fifth with only 10
pitches, but got into trouble in the sixth, giving up consecutive
singles, hitting a batter and walking another as Portland tied the
Thunder manager Tony Franklin walked to the mound, talked to
Clemens and summoned reliever Michael Gardner, who walked in the
go-ahead run against the Sea Dogs.
"I think they wanted to shut me down after five but I felt
fine," Clemens said. "I wanted to continue. I need to get reps, a
lot of them."
If all goes well, he could jump into New York's rotation Monday
or Tuesday against the Blue Jays -- one of his former teams.
"Again, it's up to him," Torre said. "He knows his body
better than anybody else. If he feels he needs to be sharper, he'll
stay down there for one more turn."
If he wants more work, Clemens might choose to make another
minor league start, perhaps for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre,
before returning to the big leagues June 2 or 3 at Boston, his
Current Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein sat behind home
plate and watched the game.
"I'm just here to watch my guys play," Epstein said.
Clemens took the "Madden" bus from New York and arrived at
Trenton about 1 p.m. Less than an hour later, he was holding court
on the mound with members of the Thunder.
"It's exciting," Clemens said. "I mean I am happy I get an
opportunity to maybe perform in places where I normally would not
have the opportunity to. I have gotten to see some neat towns.
Coming here from New York it was a pretty neat drive. I am meeting
some new guys and that's all part of it. I enjoy doing it."
A Yankees' season ticket holder, Kevin Carpenter of Norwalk,
Conn., gave up his seats for Wednesday night's game against the
Boston Red Sox at Yankees Stadium to see Clemens.
"He's been my Babe Ruth growing up. I even made the ultimate
sacrifice switching from a Red Sox fan to a Yankees fan,"
Clemens threw 58 pitches in four innings for Class-A Tampa on
Friday night. He allowed one run on three hits -- a solo homer -- and
struck out two against the Fort Myers Miracle, a Minnesota Twins
Clemens was a bit wild in the first inning, when plate umpire
Clory Blaser didn't give the 13-time All Star any breaks.
Leadoff hitter Jeff Corsaletti led off the game with a fly out
to deep drive to left center and the inning ended when
Bryan Pritz's long fly was caught on the warning track with the bases
Clemens mixed in more sliders and breaking balls the rest of the
Portland touched Clemens for a run in third. Jed Lowrie hit a
leadoff double to right center on a hanging slider and scored on a
pair of groundouts -- on the first one, Clemens hustled to cover
Clemens agreed to a $28,000,022, one-year contract on May 6 and
began working out at the Yankees' complex in Tampa, Fla., last