Roger Clemens told a Houston television station this week that his family was “warming up to” the idea of him returning to baseball this season.
“I can tell you the latest is probably the family is warming up to it again,” Clemens said. “Even my two little ones who did not want Dad to go out there are talking about it again, which I knew that would happen once they were seeing all my friends out there playing with Houston.”
The Rocket didn’t go as far as to say he was getting the itch to get back on the mound, telling KRIV-TV “I’m not too far away physically, but mentally I’m nowhere close.”
Clemens’ agent, Randy Hendricks, has indicated to media outlets that his client will likely make his decision by June 15.
“I would say that’s a pretty good date,” Clemens told KRIV-TV. “For me to be ready I would think I would probably have to give somebody an answer a little bit before that maybe.”
Hendricks insisted this week that four teams remained in the hunt for the free agent pitcher’s services, despite reports that the Astros, for whom Clemens pitched the past two seasons, emerged as the front-runner after making the Texas native a lucrative offer.
”Nothing is really new, other than the fact that Houston has dealt themselves into the hunt,” Hendricks wrote in an e-mail to the Globe’s Nick Cafardo. ”It is the same four teams [Astros, Rangers, Red Sox, Yankees]. Roger has to decide whether he wants to play, which he is evaluating.”
The Houston Chronicle reported last Wednesday that the Astros were offering a prorated version of Clemens’s $18 million deal from last season. Thursday, the Chronicle reported on its website that the Astros might be willing to go up to $4 million per month to a maximum $20 million. Clemens doesn’t intend to pitch until June.
Asked if a prorated offer is a requirement, Hendricks said, ”The prorated offer is to [the team’s] advantage, not ours. I don’t understand the media obsession with the word ‘offers.’ Do you think the Red Sox would go to the lengths they have, and not be prepared to make a deal?” Probably not. A Red Sox official said last night the club is still very interested and wasn’t taken aback by the Astros’ offer. There has been speculation that the Mets, Blue Jays, Angels, and Dodgers could become bidders, but Hendricks reiterated that there are no surprise contenders.
Content from Globe reporter Nick Cafardo’s May 7 Red Sox notebook was used in this report.