Done deal

Hope for a Rocket relaunch in Boston was officially dashed today with word that Roger Clemens has agreed to a deal with the Astros.

The Astros have called a press conference for noon ET.

More from the Associated Press:

NEW YORK –Roger Clemens has agreed to a $22 million contract (prorated to about $12.25 million) to pitch for the Houston Astros for the rest of 2006.

The Astros called a news conference Wednesday to announce the agreement, a lawyer in baseball familiar with the negotiations said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the Astros had not yet announced the deal.

Clemens is agreeing first to a minor league contract that pays $322,000 over the five-month minor league season, and his first start is likely to be at Lexington, Ky., the Class A team where his oldest son, Koby, plays.

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When he is added to the major league roster, he gets a one-year contract worth $22,000,022 — his uniform number is 22. Because he won’t be playing the full season, he gets only a prorated percentage of that, which would come to about $12.25 million if he rejoins Houston in late June.

The Astros were 27-26 and 6 1/2 games behind the NL Central-leading Cardinals after Tuesday night’s 6-3 victory over St. Louis.

Clemens pitched for the Astros last season and helped them reach the World Series for the first time. Houston, the New York Yankees, Boston and Texas all tried to lure Clemens to pitch this season.

Clemens last pitched competitively in the World Baseball Classic, where he beat South Africa for the United States in the first round and lost to Mexico 2-1 in the second on March 16.

In Detroit, New York Yankees manager Joe Torre said Tuesday that it made sense for Clemens to return to Houston.

“I’m not at all surprised,” he said. “I didn’t think that him coming back here was ever going to happen. Houston’s just such a perfect fit for him — he lives there and Andy’s on the team. That’s why he came back before, and the circumstances haven’t changed.”

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Texas owner Tom Hicks was told last week by the Hendricks brothers — Randy and Alan — that the Rangers were out of consideration, GM Jon Daniels said.

“Tom got the call on Friday that we were no longer in the running for his services,” Daniels said Tuesday. “The way we looked at it was, it would be an honor to be associated with him but we’ve continued to focus on the 25 guys here. It would have been nice, but we weren’t planning on it from the get-go.”

Clemens retired after the 2003 season, then changed his mind and joined his hometown Astros after former Yankees teammate Andy Pettitte left New York to sign with Houston.

Clemens won his seventh Cy Young Award in 2004, going 18-4 with a 2.98 ERA. He went 13-8 with a 1.87 ERA last year, winning the major league ERA title for the first time since 1990.

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