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Astros not ruling out a return by Clemens

By Kristie Rieken
Associated Press / September 11, 2012
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HOUSTON — Roger Clemens’s comeback might be headed to Houston. Well, Astros owner Jim Crane isn’t ruling it out, at least.

Crane said Monday there’s a possibility the 50-year-old righthander could pitch this season for the majors’ worst team.

‘‘We haven’t heard from Roger, so that’s still up in the air,’’ Crane said.

The last-place Astros began 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, which leaves this week as the only option.

He 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 3 scoreless innings in his first start for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League, and didn’t allow a run in 4 innings in his second start Friday.

When asked about pitching for Houston this season, Clemens said Friday he didn’t see it happening because of the time it took him to recover from his first start.

‘‘At this point I'm not expecting it,’’ said Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow.

Clemens’s reemergence with the Skeeters is the first time he has been in the spotlight since he was acquitted June 19 of charges he lied to Congress when he denied using performance-enhancing drugs.

If Clemens returns to the major leagues 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 later this year after winning 354 games in a 24-year career.

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