7-time Cy Young award winner and recently acquitted Roger Clemens will be returning to the mound Saturday. The 50-year old Clemens is scheduled to start for the Sugar Land Skeeters this weekend, his first professional pitching appearance since 2007. Here are details:
The news was first broken by Mark Berman of Houston’s Fox 26 and he reports that Clemens will start for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League. Berman says that the team put Clemens through a full workout and that his fastball was clocked at 87 mph.
What’s really crazy is that SB Nation’s Rob Neyer says there’s a rumor that the Houston Astros might be staging a bake-off among the four ex-MLBers on the Skeeters’ roster — Clemens, Scott Kazmir, Tim Redding and Jason Lane (a former Astros outfielder turned pitcher) — and giving a September start to whichever pitcher performs the best. That seems absolutely ridiculous as new GM Jeff Luhnow is trying to change the franchise’s current culture (though with the Astros’ current Triple-A roster, perhaps it isn’t).
Signing Clemens to pitch in the minors is clearly nothing more than a publicity stunt, and for an Independent League team I can’t say that I blame the Skeeters. Anything to fill those seats, right?
But if this is somehow parlayed into a major league appearance for Houston, then the Astros should be nothing short of embarrassed. For what it’s worth, Clemens was one of the best pitchers in major league history, having a career record of 354-184 (9th all-time in wins) with an era of 3.12 and 4,672 strikeouts (3rd all-time).
We’ll be looking forward to seeing a hefty Clemens armed with a 87-MPH batting practice-caliber fastball get shelled in the minors. Should be entertaining.