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Test will help decide if Rocket stays on schedule

5/22/2003

BOSTON (AP) -- Roger Clemens got win No. 299. When he will have a
chance at his 300th career victory is anyone's guess, though.

Clemens scattered nine hits in six innings against his former
team on Wednesday night, surviving a line drive off his right hand
to lead the New York Yankees to a 4-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox.

Clemens (6-2) is expected to have an X-ray on his hand Thursday.
Manager Joe Torre said he will see how Clemens' hand recovers over
the next few days before committing to pitch him as scheduled on
Monday against the Red Sox.

Clemens will pitch again "when we know that there's no question
that he's capable of going out there under normal conditions,"
Torre said. "You have to see how he feels. I'm sure that to go out
and fire it up for No. 300, he wants everything to be in the right
place."

Clemens took some convincing before coming out of the game, and
he remained confident that he will start on Monday in New York.

"If the skip says I'm questionable, then I'm questionable. But
only until tomorrow, when I have the X-rays done," said Clemens,
who had his hand wrapped with ice, but was still able to use the
hand to eat after the game.

"The way it's feeling, I'm sure it's fine, and I'll be out
there on Monday."

With two outs in the sixth inning and the game tied 2-all, Bill Mueller lined the ball off the upper knuckle of the middle finger
on Clemens' throwing hand as he finished his follow-through; the
seam of the ball took some of the skin off.

The Yankees coaches and training staff went out to the mound,
but after a few test pitches Clemens remained in the game.

"I've had worse than this happen and have gone out there," he
said. "It's going to take a lot more than this."

He struck out Doug Mirabelli with his 99th pitch of the game to
end the inning. When the trainer couldn't tell Torre if Clemens was
hurt, the manager decided to take him out; the decision became
easier to take when Raul Mondesi singled in the go-ahead run in the
seventh.

"You'd have to have a deep flesh wound to get him out," third
baseman Robin Ventura said after the Yankees took over sole
possession of first place in the AL East. "It's great to be able
to come through for him."

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, who was watching part of
the game in the clubhouse, watched as Torre and pitching coach Mel
Stottlemyre tried to convince Clemens he was done for the night.

"He said, 'You are not taking me out,' " Cashman said. "I
said, 'I'm getting out of here right now. This is (for) Joe and
Mel.' "

If Clemens can stay on schedule, he will try for No. 300 against
the Red Sox. The future Hall of Famer played in Boston for the
first 13 years of his career before he left as a free agent in 1996
when then-general manager Dan Duquette declared him to be "in the
twilight of his career."

Many in the sellout crowd of 35,003 booed Clemens as he left the
bullpen before the game, but they were quieted by the time he took
the mound with a 1-0 lead, thanks to Jason Giambi's homer. Clemens
gave the lead back in the bottom half when Todd Walker singled and
Nomar Garciaparra homered.

Chris Hammond came out to start the seventh for New York, and
Mariano Rivera got the last four outs for his fourth save. Rivera
picked off pinch-runner Damian Jackson at first without throwing a
pitch to end the eighth.

The crowd included former Yankees shortstop Bucky Dent, who was
sitting in the new seats above the Green Monster near where his
home run landed in the 1978 playoff game that gave New York the AL
East title.

That was just one of the many heartbreaks in Red Sox history.
Among the more recent was watching Clemens win two World Series and
three more of his record six Cy Young awards after he left; Boston
has not won it all since 1918.

To throw out the first pitch against the team that Red Sox
president Larry Lucchino has called the "Evil Empire," the
ballclub brought in "Star Wars" composer John Williams and played
the foreboding music from the movie to accompany him.

The Yankees tied it in the third on Alfonso Soriano's RBI
single, but Tim Wakefield (4-2) shut them down until the seventh.
Clemens had more of a struggle, allowing baserunners in every
inning while striking out seven and walking one.

"I got outpitched tonight by one of the greatest," said
Wakefield, the longest-tenured Red Sox player and one of the few
who played with Clemens. "Two-hundred and ninety-nine wins is
nothing to shake your head at."

Wakefield retired 13 in a row before Jorge Posada singled with
two outs in the seventh, then Ventura walked before Mondesi
singled to make it 3-2. Posada walked and scored on Ventura's
double in the ninth to make it 4-2.

Game notes
Garciaparra homered on the first pitch he saw in the first
inning to extend his hitting streak to 22 games, the longest in the
majors this season. ... Bernie Williams was 0-for-13 for the
series, with three hits in his last 28 at-bats. ... Rudy Seanez
made his Red Sox debut in the ninth. His contract was purchased
from Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday when Jason Shiell was sent down.