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The Early Lead
Posted at 02:55 PM ET, 08/21/2012

Roger Clemens returns, but don’t call it a comeback. Yet.


Roger Clemens is expected to start Saturday for the Sugar Land Skeeters. (David J. Phillip / AP)
Roger Clemens, Comeback Player of the Year? Not quite.

The seven-time Cy Young Award winner plans to pitch in one game for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League and then reassess the situation.

Clemens, introduced as the newest Skeeter on Tuesday, said he’s “just going to have fun with it. ... If I get through Saturday, we’ll see where we go from there.”

That’s probably a good idea. Clemens, 50, was acquitted in June of charges that he lied to Congress when he denied using performance-enhancing drugs and isn’t exactly Major League Baseball’s darling. He hasn’t pitched since 2007, when he was with the New York Yankees.


Someone added a “K” to the Skeeters’ logo. We get it. (RICHARD CARSON / Reuters)
He and the Skeeters, managed by Gary Gaetti, will face a team from Bridgeport, Conn., on Saturday. “His fastball was clocked at 87 miles per hour. All of his pitches were working,” Clemens’ agent, Randy Hendricks, said. “He threw a three-inning simulated game after an extensive workout warmup.”

Clemens, who won 354 games over a 24-year career, will be eligible for Hall of Fame voting later this year — unless he appears in another major-league game. That would reset the five-year clock to zero. The majors, though, are a distant possibility at the moment.

“I wouldn’t consider myself anywhere close to major-league ready,” Clemens said (via Chron.com). “I’m nowhere near where I was five years ago or [have put] the amount of work I want into it.”

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By  |  02:55 PM ET, 08/21/2012

 
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