Astros haven't discussed if Clemens will help at camp
HOUSTON -- Astros general manager Ed Wade and other team executives haven't discussed whether they'll ask Roger Clemens to join Nolan Ryan and Jeff Bagwell as an instructor at their annual pitching and hitting camp for prospects.
Clemens attended the camp last year. Questions about whether he'll be welcome this year have come up since former trainer Brian McNamee accused him of using steroids and human growth hormone in the Mitchell report. The camp opens Jan. 28.
"It's more than two weeks away, and all that we've really focused on is putting the roster of young players together," Wade said Friday. "We haven't had any internal discussion about Roger's participation."
Clemens has a personal-services contract with the team that is set to begin when he retires. He informed the Astros in November that he was ready to begin working in that capacity.
McNamee told baseball investigator George Mitchell that he injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone in 1998, 2000 and 2001, an assertion the seven-time Cy Young Award winner has vehemently denied.
When pressed about how Clemens' possible participation in the camp would be viewed, Wade first talked about how he'd prefer to focus on the prospects.
"This is a camp with Nolan Ryan and Jeff Bagwell, both high-profile people," Wade said. "But if it's determined that Roger is part of that, I'm sure he will get a lot of attention. But that is not our focus."
Clemens played for the Astros from 2004-06 before signing with the Yankees last year. Wade hedged when asked whether Clemens would be a distraction.
"I personally don't really have an opinion on if it's going to be a distraction," he said. "All I'm concerned about is the young players. We just want to create an atmosphere where they can compete and we can work on the composition of our roster."
Regardless of whether Clemens is invited to the camp, there will be a Clemens there. His oldest son, Koby, is a prospect in Houston's minor league system and has been invited to the camp, which runs through Feb. 1.
Clemens, former Astros teammate Andy Pettitte and Houston-area resident Chuck Knoblauch have been asked to testify Feb. 13 before a congressional committee investigating the Mitchell report. The trio are to give depositions before the hearing.
Joe Householder, a spokesman for Clemens' lawyer, Rusty Hardin, said the pitcher's deposition has not yet been scheduled.
"Playing phone tag with the staff," Householder said.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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