Clemens begins comeback in Kentucky
By JEFFREY McMURRAY
Associated Press Writer
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - New destination, same origin for the Rocket's return to the majors.
Two days after signing a prorated $28 million contract with the pitching-starved New York Yankees, Roger Clemens wore pinstriped pants and a Yankees cap while throwing from a mound at the University of Kentucky.
"The arm feels good," Clemens said after the workout. "Right now I've just got to get that soreness that every pitcher understands. I've got to get it in my legs and out as quick as possible so that I know I can handle the stress of a major league game."
The workout took place in the same city - albeit a different stadium - where the seven-time Cy Young Award winner began his comeback last year.
Then a member of the Houston Astros, Clemens' first tuneup was with the Class A Lexington Legends, where son Koby plays third base.
But as a member of another organization, Clemens couldn't work out at the Astros' facility this time. Instead, the future Hall of Famer threw for more than an hour at Cliff Hagan Stadium, allowing him to attend Koby's game down the road later in the day.
"Believe me, I've thrown on top of buildings to get my work done," Clemens said.
Clemens tried an assortment of fastballs, splitters and breaking balls during the workout. Although hitters stood in the batter's box, he asked that none of them swing. The live batting practice was to begin when Koby arrived, but Clemens shooed the media out for that.
The Wildcat players, who won the Southeastern Conference regular-season championship for the first time last year, said they were impressed - not just by Clemens' talent but his work ethic.
"There is that feeling of, 'Oh my gosh,'" said junior pitcher Andrew Albers. "This guy's a Hall of Famer. He's one of the best pitchers who ever played this game. Here he is talking to us. It definitely makes you pay attention a little more."
Clemens said he hasn't signed his new contract. Hasn't even read it. Before Sunday, he didn't even know there was a clause, as he had last year with the Astros, allowing him flexibility to be with his family when he isn't scheduled to pitch.
As for choosing the Yankees, Clemens said he never meant to offend his other suitors, the Astros and the Boston Red Sox.
"Every decision you make might not make somebody else happy," he said.
"I wish there were three of me. I really do. My innermost thoughts and feelings that I'm keeping close to my heart, when it's all said and done at the end of the year, I'll tell you the exact reasons why I did what I did."