|Will the Rocket soon be doing this in an Astros uniform? (Getty Images)|
Crane says the team would not start Clemens against a contending team, which, as the AP points out, means that the week-long homestand that begins Monday and features games against the Cubs and Phillies would present the only opportunity.
But Clemens has no desire to test his mettle against an also-ran. "Why would I want to waste my time running around and getting in shape?" Clemens told Mark Berman of FOX-26 Houston. "I get over to Minute Maid (Park), I'll crank it up and get it over 90 for a contender. We'll knock them right out of the playoffs. That would be the fun. Pitching against somebody that's not in contention wouldn't be any fun for me.
"It's not going to happen."
Clemens went on to say he'll attend spring training with the Astros in a coaching capacity. While that may turn out to be the case, it would be hardly surprising if Clemens aired it out next spring with an eye toward making a return. The 50-year-old Clemens has made two scoreless starts for the independent-league Sugar Land Skeeters this season, but he hasn't pitched in the majors since 2007.
So why all this talk of a comeback? From the Astros' perspective, they can create some buzz for a bad team that's not exactly a hot ticket these days. From Clemens' standpoint, he may be looking to push back the start of his Hall of Fame eligibility another five years, which may mean his case would eventually be considered by a new breed of voters less inclined to penalize him after allegations of PED use.
In other words, it's a bit of sham on both sides.