Seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens is no closer to deciding whether he'll play a 24th major league season.

"Everybody knows where I stand. I don't care to play, but if that decision comes up again, then it's a big decision on me," Clemens said yesterday, his first day at the Astros' training camp. "It has nothing to do with anybody else. It's a decision on me to go out and perform."

If he comes back, the 44-year-old said he'll choose between his hometown Astros, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.

Clemens said he'll wait until his agents, Alan and Randy Hendricks, get an offer he can't refuse before he amps up his workout regimen. And even then, he might have doubts.

"I don't know what's going to happen two months from now," Clemens said. "I could get into the middle of a training session and know that I just can't do it. That would be the easiest call for me to make."

· RED SOX: Curt Schilling said he will become a free agent after the season and won't let that distract him during his fourth year with Boston.

General Manager Theo Epstein wouldn't rule out in-season discussions for a new contract.

Epstein also said that Schilling, 40, will be the Opening Day starter April 2 in Kansas City and "I couldn't be happier about that." . . .

Manny Ramirez changed plans and will not attend a car auction in New Jersey tomorrow while his teammates work out, the Red Sox said. The team gave Ramirez permission to report late to camp on March 1, the day after their first exhibition game, for family reasons.

· METS: Pitcher Orlando Hernandez has arthritis in his neck and will be sidelined for three or four days after receiving a cortisone shot.

"El Duque," slated to be the Mets' No. 2 starter, left spring training yesterday and returned to New York to have his neck examined. He underwent an MRI exam, which did not show any disk problems, General Manager Omar Minaya said.

· PIRATES: Outfielder Xavier Nady was released from a hospital, two days after being admitted for an inflammation of the intestine. Nady is expected to resume limited physical activity today.

· STEROIDS PROBE: Former Senate majority leader George J. Mitchell is sending his investigators to spring training as part of his probe of steroid use in baseball.

"I can confirm that members of my investigative staff have been, and will be, conducting interviews during spring training of various individuals who are involved in baseball," Mitchell said in a statement Wednesday. "Our interviews are being conducted in both Arizona and Florida. "