Clemens undecided about his future
Future Hall of Famer unsure if he will pitch in 2007
HOUSTON -- For Roger Clemens, this offseason is not unlike the last three.
He's hopping around town as the featured guest at a slew of charity functions, he's not sure what he wants to do next year, and he's trying -- unsuccessfully -- to retire.
This has been going on since 2003, and just as in years past, he's undecided about his baseball future.
It's likely Clemens will play in 2007, although he isn't publicly tipping his hand. It's also likely he'll do the half-season arrangement, which worked quite well in 2006, when he joined the Astros on June 22.
But where he'll pitch is the big question. Clemens, who's yet to confirm he even wants to play next year, isn't close to addressing that question.
"I'm not going to make a decision yet and I don't think that's a big surprise," Clemens said while attending a Holiday Children's Fundraiser Sunday night at Truluck's, a local Houston restaurant. The event, emceed by Astros radio voice Milo Hamilton, benefited the Roger Clemens Foundation.
"I don't know what's going to happen in February," Clemens said, adding that his only baseball commitments for the foreseeable future include advising the Astros' up-and-coming pitchers at the Nolan Ryan Elite Pitchers Camp at Minute Maid Park in late January.
He'll also spend quite a bit of time in Kissimmee, Spring Training home of the Astros. But he'll probably confine himself to the Minor League fields, where he'll spend time with the "kids," including his own son, Koby, a third-base prospect.
Other than that, what Clemens will do next summer is anyone's guess. The Astros, Red Sox and Yankees are seemingly interested. Now that Clemens' close friend, Andy Pettitte, is headed back to the Yankees, New York may have the upper hand when it's time to woo the Rocket.
Despite his well-publicized friendship with Pettitte, Clemens said what happened between the Astros and the left-hander will not have a bearing on his decision.
"I'm not bothered by it," Clemens said, referring to the somewhat sour way Pettitte and the Astros parted last week. "I understand both sides of it. Andy talks openly, and for me, when he wasn't feeling right, he went out there and pitched for us and won games. He took injections, that's no secret. I appreciate that as a teammate.
"The whole situation reminds me of when the Yankees let him go (in 2003), they were worried about his elbow. And now he left (Houston) to go back (to then Yankees) because (the Astros) are kind of worried about him."
Clemens, who will turn 45 in August, had another Clemens-like season -- in abbreviated form -- in '06. He made 19 starts and posted a 2.30 ERA, despite recording a mediocre 7-6 record due to -- what else? Poor run support.
The ERA, plus 102 strikeouts in 113 1/3 innings, suggests Clemens is not done yet. Also looming in the background is the knowledge that the other Texas baseball legend, Nolan Ryan, pitched until age 46. Clemens could very well match his role model in the area of longevity.
"Yeah, but I spent five years in New York," Clemens said with a laugh. "That's like dog years."
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.