Astros not ruling out a return by Clemens
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HOUSTON — Astros owner Jim Crane thinks Roger Clemens’s comeback could continue in Houston. That would be news to the 50-year-old righthander, who doesn’t sound too interested in the idea.
Crane said Monday there’s a possibility Clemens could pitch this season for the majors’ worst team.
‘‘We haven’t heard from Roger, so that’s still up in the air,’’ he said.
The last-place Astros started a weeklong homestand on Monday that includes three games against the Cubs and four against the Phillies. Their only remaining home games after this stretch are against the Pirates and the Cardinals — two teams in postseason contention.
Crane said he would not pitch the seven-time Cy Young Award winner against a contender.
But Clemens said Monday night the only way he would pitch this season was against a team in contention.
‘‘I can tell you right now and they would know too, that if I was going to go do it, I am going to pitch against a contender, that’s who I want to knock out,’’ Clemens told Houston television station KRIV. ‘‘Why would I want to waste my time running around and getting in shape . . . Pitching against somebody that’s not in contention wouldn’t be any fun for me.
‘‘It’s not going to happen.’’
Crane wouldn’t say whether the team will reach out and try to entice Clemens to return to the majors for the first time since pitching for the Yankees in 2007.
‘‘We’re just going to sit tight,’’ Crane said. ‘‘We'll wait and see if he calls us, but we might call him, who knows?’’
Clemens pitched 3⅓ scoreless innings in his first start for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League, and didn’t allow a run in 4⅔ innings in his second start Friday.
If Clemens returns to the majors this season he wouldn’t appear on the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot for another five years. He’s set to appear on the ballot for the first time this year.