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Clemens sounds off

Posted by Chris Snow, Globe Staff  April 3, 2006 03:13 PM

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Interesting morning in the Sox clubhouse. Roger Clemens popped in at 10:24 a.m. and didn't leave until exactly one hour later. He ducked into an office with his agent, Randy Hendricks, and Theo Epstein, and during that time, David Wells, Josh Beckett, Mike Timlin, Al Nipper (his former teammate), Bill Haselman (his former catcher), Tom Werner, Trot Nixon, and John Henry all paid visits.

Hendricks, afterwards, said he's set an unofficial deadline of the All-Star Break for Clemens to make his decision. "My goal," Hendricks said, "is to shorten the season for him." Hendricks said Clemens is pitching BP a couple times a week to stay in shape, and figures the Rocket would need two or three starts to get ready to pitch for real, whenever that is. "I think roughly half a season [makes sense]," Hendricks said.

Clemens intends to take in a couple games at Fenway this spring. "I told him he'd better have the gorilla suit of Theo's," Hendricks said, "but I know it got sold for charity."

Anyway, here's Clemens' 12-minute session with the Boston media.

  • On visiting with the team:

    "It was great to see Nip, I sat with Nip and Wake last night for a long time and talked to them. Just told Theo, 'They took a great deal of time to come to Houston and talk to me a while back.'"

  • On his intentions:

    "I don't have any interest in playing at all right now. Randy Hendricks is making this more and more difficult to retire. That's his job. I think I'm going to sit back and watch. If somebody goes down or something like that and I really feel I can help I might decide to do it, but not at this point. Just as I got done telling Nip, I'm not coming back so I can wave my hand. If I come back I want to win. It would be a huge commitment on my part."

  • On the city of Boston:

    "It's really a home for me. I've been there a long time. The other three teams are in the same situation. I played for them and feel I gave every bit of my effort. I told Theo I want to come up and watch a game or two before the summer gets too long and basically get out of these guys' way. It's their Opening Day. I don't want to be a distraction. They're going to work. I respect that. They asked me to come by and say hello to a couple guys. I think I'm going to catch the first pitch [tomorrow in Houston]. Vince [Young] is supposed to throw out the first pitch. We get our national championship."

  • More on Boston:

    "I could tell you that my two little ones are even warming up to that. They're starting to make comments now that the baseball season is underway. You can ask them. They had tears in their eyes watching the video they brought down. Boston is very special to us."

  • On the WBC:

    "It was a great experience. I got to watch Jason a little bit and the intensity with which he goes about his work."

  • On the video the team made him:

    "It was just a great video. It was a little it of everything. They had the fans around the city. It brought back a lot of memories, and I got to see the young me. I've aged."

  • On retirement:

    "If it works out and I can just fade away that's what happens. That could happen. If I sit back and enjoy watching some ballgames. Again, i put myself under a lot of stress and my body under a lot of stress because I want to perform. I don't like it at all when I don't perform. That's the bottom line. ... I feel on one occasion I want to help some guys and I feel I can and then another week goes by and I don't know that mentally I want to try this again. I just enjoyed competing. That would probably be the thing I'd miss the most."

  • On the team he'll choose:

    "It has nothing to do with the offer, it has No. 1 to do with my mindset and, do I want to do it again? And No. 2, can I do it at a high level? Those are the questions I'm having the last two years."

  • How then does he decide where?:

    "That's a great question. I can't answer that. I have a fondness for all the teams we're talking about, Houston, Boston, New York, and these guys here [Texas]."

  • On the Sox rotation:

    "Believe me, Nip ran me the scenario a million times and showed me the starting staff. They've got a great ballclubs and they're going to be fine. I don't believe I can add a whole lot to these guys."

  • On the need for closure in Boston:

    "Not at all. Like I told Theo when he told me how things changed: I liked it the way it was before. I know the changes are better. They've kept the stadium nice and added seats. But I liked it before. You don't have to sell me on anything."

  • But would it be special?:

    "I can't say that wouldn't be something extremely special. No doubt."

  • On the grind of the season:

    "Even being at home and pitching in Houston was a tough grind. Obviously I've seen the offense everybody wants to offer. That's where I'm at right now. Right now I'm not interested in getting out there and locking in on this. I met a few of the young pitchers here and on other clubs. The game is in good hands."

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