– Roger Clemens is scheduled to pitch again for the independent Sugar Land Skeeters on Friday in Texas, but he doesn’t expect to return to the majors this season.
"I don't see it happening. Everybody is speculating and everybody's got their own opinions, and that's great," Clemens said during a news conference Tuesday at Sovereign Bank Stadium, the home of the Atlantic League's York Revolution. "But it is still a lot of work. When I started warming up, playing a little lawn catch, I knew it was gonna be a little more work than I wanted."
The 50-year-old Clemens, who last pitched in the majors in 2007 for the New York Yankees, created a stir Aug. 25 when he threw 3 1/3 scoreless innings against the Bridgeport Bluefish before a sold-out crowd of more than 7,000 in suburban Houston.
Although it has been reported that he may pitch this season for the struggling Houston Astros, for whom he still maintains a personal-services contract, Clemens said he has no burning desire to return to the majors.
"No, I don't. I kind of take each day as it comes," Clemens said. "It's been mentioned and I have heard people mention it, but I'm nowhere close to being ready to pitch in a major league game."
He'll pitch in Sugar Land again Friday against the Long Island Ducks. But he was in York, an hour north of Baltimore, on Tuesday to throw a side session. The Skeeters and the Revolution are owned by the same group, which includes Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson, who attended Clemens' press conference.
Fans could watch Clemens' side session if they purchased a ticket to the Tuesday's Revolution game. He arrived Monday night and signed autographs for a brief period before the Skeeters played.
"Most of our guys in Sugar Land now, some of them got the start here," Clemens said. "So I said no problem. It's been a great deal of fun for me and my family."
Clemens, who also spoke at a luncheon earlier Tuesday afternoon, joked with reporters on several occasions during his conference, saying that someone needed to stand in the batter's box during the side session, and that he would try not to plunk anyone.
"You can come in and stand in there if you want," Clemens said, chiding a reporter. "It only hurts for a minute. I know it might not be 95 [mph], but it will leave a mark."
Clemens, who won 354 games and seven Cy Young Awards in a 24-season career that has since been marred by performance-enhancing drug accusations and a very public perjury trial in which he was acquitted in June, also tackled questions about his legacy.
"My legacy, I did it for 24 years. I did it to the best of my ability and to the highest quality I could give," Clemens said. "So I'm not too concerned about my legacy. I went out there and performed. You talk to any of my teammates, they [won't] tell you any different. And that's what matters to me."
He also said he'd like to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, for which he'll be eligible for the first time next year, but he said he is not concerned about the Baseball Writers Association of America's decision.
"The Hall of Fame, there's bits and pieces of me there from games I've had. That's fantastic. The guys that are there, I respect greatly. ... It's kind of like your final resting place, if you will," Clemens said. "Having said that, I'm not going to go around shaking guys' hands and telling them I'm a Hall of Famer. My numbers are my numbers. That's what I did, so if they feel like I'm deserving or don't, I don't have any control over it. I don't have a vote or say so. ... It's not going to change my life either way."
He also dismissed the idea that he would try to make a major league comeback now so he can suspend the Hall voting for another five years, until the writers have more time to study his – and the steroid generation's – situation. Players must wait five years after retirement before inclusion on the ballot, so that clock would re-start if he played major league baseball this year or next.
"As far as pushing it back five years, I'm not even concerned about it. Not one bit," he said. "If I was going to do that, I'll pitch this year in the major leagues and then four years later I'll pitch again at 55 and then I'll pitch again at 60. I mean, come on."
Robinson, for one, said he believes Clemens will be inducted into the Hall of Fame eventually, but he's not sure when the call will come.
"I think he is certainly going to get it. Maybe not next year, I don't know," Robinson said. "I don't get a real feel for the writers. There seems to be a real deviation from one writer to another and so it's just really hard to say what's going to happen."