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[MLB] 'The Rocket' set to launch in Houston


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?The Rocket? apparently will launch once again, although it might be news to the Houston Astros and his agent.

Righthander Roger Clemens has ended his prolonged absence from baseball and agreed on a one-year deal with the Houston Astros, Newsday reported Tuesday, citing two unnamed people close to the situation.

A seven-time Cy Young Award winner, the 43-year-old Clemens will receive $3.5 million per month from the Astros, who battled in negotiations with the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox for the future of Hall of Famer?s services, Newsday reported.

The Astros probably will make the announcement this week, Newsday reported.

?Obviously, we?re still hopeful. But nothing has been determined,? Astros general manager Tim Purpura said, the Associated Press. ?We?d love to get a phone call that Roger is going to pitch for us. They know what our interest is, what our parameters are.

?We?d like to make a deal. But Roger still has decide want he wants to do and make his choice,? he said.

Agent Randy Hendricks said the 43-year-old Clemens is ?very close with a final decision,? the AP reported.

?He has not signed any agreement with the Houston Astros. That is incorrect,? Hendricks said. ?I have not spoken with the Houston Astros today. I think I would know when a deal was done.?

The Astros were 26-26 and 7? games behind the NL Central-leading Cardinals going into Tuesday night?s game at 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 have all tried to lure Clemens to pitch this season.

In the Houston clubhouse at Busch Stadium, Clemens was a big topic of discussion.

?False alarm,? manager Phil Garner said. ?I didn?t see it, but one of the players came in and told me that it was on TV that we had signed him.?

?I just talked to our GM when we heard that it was on TV and he has no news of it and he would be the guy that would know,? he said. ?We?ve said all along that we?d love for him to sign here. We think this is the right spot for him and we think it?s a good home.?

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 heard the report that Clemens was returning 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.?

Texas owner Tom Hicks was told last week by the Hendricks brothers ? Randy and Alan, who represent Clemens ? 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.

I was watching Baseball Tonight on ESPN, and John Kruk brought up a good point. Clemen's situation may open the door to players sitting out the first couple months of the season and then selling their talent for the August-October part of the season. If an agreement is reached, this would be a big paycheck Houston would be giving Clemens.

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dude i'm sorry, but 3.5 mil per month? for a rustry, broken down pitcher that is only a shadow of his former self?

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dude i'm sorry, but 3.5 mil per month? for a rustry, broken down pitcher that is only a shadow of his former self?

Joe, normally i'll agree with you but.....Clemens is not a rusty, broken down pitcher. Sure he may be old, but look at the 40+ year olds that are lighting it up. If When Clemens comes back this year to pitch I expect nothing less than what he has done in the past 2 years.

I don't know about you but I wouldn't mind him being a Cub. :p

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even if he comes back top notch form, is he worth 3.5 mil a MONTH?? thats like 4 starts tops. was clemens even that sharp at the WBC? and he hasn't really pitched competitively since then.

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even jordan didn't make that much in his final years, did he?

He made almost nothing. If you remember, he was the GM (or whatever position he had) of the Wizards. He just decided to get paid almost nothing extra just to get fans back into the game.

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I for one am excited. We need pitching help. Bullpen help as well. Washed up? He led the league in ERA last year with 1.87. He won the Cy Young two years ago. He lost one game in the WBC to Mexico 2-1 (he won his other start). Is he being paid too much, probably, but his presence will hopefully bolster the team.

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He made almost nothing. If you remember, he was the GM (or whatever position he had) of the Wizards. He just decided to get paid almost nothing extra just to get fans back into the game.

Actually, Jordan stepped down from his position as President of Basketball Operations and donated his salary ($1 million) to the victims of 9/11.

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