Roger Clemens of the Sugar Land Skeeters looks on in the dugout before he pitches against the Camden Riversharks at Constellation Field in Sugar Land, Texas. (Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)
Roger Clemens still hasn't admitted that he's angling for a major-league comeback, but he's planning to make another appearance with the minor-league Sugar Land Skeeters.
It looks like we haven't seen the last of Roger Clemens.
Late Wednesday, we learned that Clemens will probably pitch again for the Atlantic League's Sugar Land Skeeters, either on the 7th or 8th of September. Still no word, though, on whether Clemens has designs on a return to the major leagues with the Houston Astros.
CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman has little doubt about that, though:
Actually when it comes to the truth, it's just the opposite for Clemens. The very way you knew Clemens was intending to come back to pitch for the Astros this year is that his first comments suggested the opposite.
And now, once again, he's saying he has no plans to pitch for the Astros. Not "at this point,'' he said, adding a qualifier, as if one more public lie could possibly damage his credibility.
Crane doesn't rule out a comeback for Clemens, who he already employs under a personal services contract, but told someone it wouldn't be done as a stunt. Since we can assume employing someone with an AARP card isn't part of the Astros' rebuilding process (even kids Chris Johnson and J.A. Happ were seen as too experienced!), it is of course exactly a stunt, a way to fill the stadium a time or two.
The Astros may feel they have nothing to lose. Except their dignity.
Yes, of course it would be done as a stunt. Clemens isn't going to be in good enough shape to pitch more than three or four innings at a time, and he's probably not good enough, period, to last that long anyway. But as I noted last week, there's a long history of stunts involving old pitchers. While it might seem undignified at the time, eventually it becomes just another morsel of baseball lore.
Would it be the worst thing in the world if this were the last Clemens morsel, rather than the courtroom drama?