Exclusive: Clemens talks for 1st time on TV since HOF vote
By Steve Bunin
In exclusive interviews Monday at Minute Maid Park, Roger Clemens and Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow confirmed previous reports that Clemens will have an increased role with Houston's major and minor league players this season, beginning in spring training and extending into the regular season.
Clemens met with Luhnow, pitching coach Doug Brocail and other Houston front office members today.
His interview with CSN Houston is his first since the Hall of Fame vote last week.
We talked about that, the new gig, and if he'll ever pitch in the big leagues again, to which Clemens responded, “I think they have plenty of arms ... they don't need mine.”
I insisted, “But if they ask, what would you say?”
“I would have to start training in November to even entertain the idea,” said Clemens. “I'll still keep myself in great shape, but it’d (be better) if they didn't have frappacinos at Starbucks.”
What about a return to the Sugar Land Skeeters?
“Probably not,” said Clemens. “I didn't even really train for that. I got up to 88, 90 mph, but hadn't trained, and I was sore for a week after. It took a lot to get that soreness out.”
For now, Clemens is focused on his increased role with the Astros, who've had him on a 10-year personal services contract since he retired in 2007.
General manager Jeff Luhnow confirmed today, that the team is asking much more of the seven-time Cy Young Award winner than it has in the past, which is fine by Clemens, who said, “I really like working with kids on the baseball side, their focus, makeup, how they go about their work - the mental part of the game.”
Clemens' body of work is unrivaled in baseball history. But in his first year of eligibility for the Hall of Fame, he received just 37.6 percent of the vote, half of what's necessary to make it into Cooperstown. Clemens knows the accusations - never proven - that his body was changed by performance-enhancing drugs affected the results.
“I can't control that,” Clemens said. “The writers have a vote, and if they wanna take the word of one person (Clemens’ former personal trainer Brian McNamee, who testified he gave Clemens PEDs), I don't wish that on anybody... It's hurtful - one of the worst things you can do - terrible, passing judgment on something you know nothing about.
“Some people liked what (the writers) did trying to make a point. Some didn't. It's not gonna change my life, either way.”