Clemens to return to the mound Monday vs. White Sox

Updated: May 30, 2007, 11:05 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Roger Clemens is all set to pitch for the New York Yankees next week. Until then, he'll be their best cheerleader.

Clemens threw a bullpen session at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday and then attended Pinstripes in the Park, a Manhattan event to promote the Yankees.

Earlier in the day, manager Joe Torre said Clemens would start Monday night in Chicago against the White Sox.

"So far, so good," said Clemens, wearing light blue cowboy boots. "I got the word when I got out of the car today that Joe announced that it's Monday. I can plan accordingly now."

Torre said he exchanged e-mails with Clemens before the throw session at Yankee Stadium.

"Monday is good with him," Torre said. "We're looking forward to seeing him."

The Yankees considered having Clemens pitch this weekend at Boston. New York beat Toronto 10-5 on Wednesday night, leaving the Yankees 13½ games behind first-place Boston in the AL East.

Chien-Ming Wang, Mike Mussina and Andy Pettitte were already scheduled to pitch at Fenway Park, and that was a major part of Clemens' phone conversation with Torre on Tuesday night.

"I said I felt fine and would do whatever he wants me to do and whatever he needs me to do," Clemens said. "We were looking at the rotation and I realized that they looked like they're lined up pretty good for Boston."

And what of the extra hoopla if Clemens had made his season debut in Boston against his former team?

"There's drama wherever I go," Clemens said. "Every start that I pitch -- if it's a Wednesday in Minnesota and a Businessman's Special -- it's important to me."

Clemens is expected to join the Yankees after the Red Sox series. The Yankees snapped a five-game losing streak Wednesday night to improve to 22-29.

"It's not good, we all know that, so we've just got to turn it around," Clemens said. "I suspect those guys will give me a lot of help and I'll try to give them all the help I can."

As Clemens spoke, Johnny Damon led off Wednesday night's game in Toronto with a home run. The shot sent the estimated crowd of 10,000 into a frenzy.

"See? See?" Clemens said, pointing at his wife, Debbie.

The 44-year-old Clemens has made three minor league starts since signing a prorated $28 million contract with the Yankees this month.

After one start at Class A Tampa and one at Double-A Trenton, the Rocket made his final minor league start Monday for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He allowed two hits and struck out six over six scoreless innings.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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