Sports Outside the Beltway

Roger Clemens Comes out of Retirement, Rejoins Astros

Roger Clemens will be pitching for the Astros again this year.

Roger Clemens is coming out of retirement for the third time, agreeing to a contract to pitch for the Houston Astros for the rest of 2006. The 43-year-old Clemens, who will be entering his 23rd major league season, is agreeing first to a minor league contract that pays $322,000 over the five-month minor league season, and his first start is likely to be June 6 at Lexington, Ky., the Class A team where his oldest son, Koby, plays. If all goes well, his second minor league start would be June 11 at Double-A Corpus Christi, Texas, followed by a start June 16 at Triple-A Round Rock, Texas.

Clemens announced his return Wednesday at a news conference. “The ball’s in my court now,” he said. “This was a difficult decision on my part in a number of situations. I have to now take the next step and get my body ready to come back, get effective, win games.”

When he is added to the major league roster, he’ll get a one-year, $22 million contract — actually, the contract would be worth $22,000,022 (Clemens’ uniform number is 22). But because he won’t be playing the full season, he’ll receive a prorated percentage of that, which would come to about $12.25 million if he rejoins Houston in late June. The tentative goal is to have him start against the Minnesota Twins on June 22; if he’s put on the big league roster that day, he would earn $12,632,307.


Clemens won his seventh Cy Young Award in 2004, going 18-4 with a 2.98 ERA. He went 13-8 with a 1.87 ERA last year, winning the major league ERA title for the first time since 1990.

Clemens is already the greatest pitcher of his generation–and I say that as a Braves/Greg Maddux fan and has all the accolades and championships anyone could ask for. Still, there’s no reason for him to hang it up while he’s still a truly dominant pitcher, even if he is geriatric by Major League standards.


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