Clemens moves closer to return to Astros

Roger Clemens is moving closer to returning to the major leagues with the Astros.

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow told's Jon Heyman that he plans to have a scout watch Clemens pitch for the independent Sugar Land Skeeters on Sept. 7.

The strong speculation in baseball has been that if all goes reasonably well that night, Clemens will then pitch for the Astros five days later, on Sept. 12 against the Cubs.

Clemens, who turned 50 on Aug. 4, last pitched in the big leagues in 2007 with the Yankees. He would be on this December's Hall of Fame ballot, but that eligibility will be delayed for another five years if he pitches for the Astros.

In fact, many believe that Clemens' main motivation in his comeback is to remove himself from this year's ballot, where his association with performance enhancing drugs would make his election unlikely.

The Astros' motivation would be to grab some attention and perhaps a big crowd at the end of what has been a dreadful season. By starting Clemens on Sept. 12, the Astros could get him two or three starts (and presumably big crowds) at home.

Clemens has already made one start for the Skeeters, pitching 3 1/3 scoreless innings on Aug. 25.

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