Roger Clemens Declares Himself 'Nowhere Near Major League Ready' Before First Start

Roger Clemens, returning to the mound Saturday in a start for the Sugar Land Skeeters, told the Associated Press that he's not close to regaining his big-league form.

"I don't know how much clearer I can say it," Clemens said. "I'm nowhere near major league ready, nor have I been training or pitching in that type of mode."

In fact, Clemens sounded unsure how long he'll last against minor-league hitters. "Get here early," he said, "'cause it might go by pretty quick. I hope it's more than one or two innings, but it might not be. I don't know what to expect. I'm going to get out here, kick my leg up and try to get behind some baseballs, and turn `em loose."

Skeeters manager Gary Gaetti doesn't know how many games Clemens will end up pitching for his team.

"I'm anticipating one start, right here. One start," Gaetti said. "Depending on how things go, and what he decides he wants to do -- if he feels like he can help us win some ballgames, and he feels good about what he's doing, then why not (more starts)?

"A lot of it is going to be determined on how he feels," Gaetti said. "I'm certain that he can help us win ballgames. If that's what he wants to do, then he's more than welcome to do that. If he has other plans, then that's his deal."

The 50-year-old pitcher has not declared an official comeback, but the Houston Astros are sending a scout to the game anyways on Saturday. Astros owner Jim Crane told KRIV-TV that he'd be willing to sign the star if it'd lead to positive implications for the "good of baseball."

"The only thing we don't want to do is make it a publicity stunt," Crane said. "If we did it, I want to try and take it and turn it into a positive, which would be Roger's doing it for the good of baseball. The extra proceeds on the game might go to the (Astros') community charity deal to build (baseball) fields, do something positive out of it."

The Rocket's comeback start for the Independent League team will be televised on ESPN Classic with planned coverage including an interview with Clemens and Gaetti.

For more on Roger Clemens and everything baseball, head over to Baseball Nation.

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