December 11, 2005


Red Sox discussing Clemens (Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff | December 11, 2005, Boston Globe)

The Red Sox have communicated with Roger Clemens's agents, the Hendricks brothers, over the past few days to express their interest in the future Hall of Famer if he elects to play in 2006.

Clemens, who was not offered salary arbitration by the Houston Astros, was informed of the contact, and sources close to Clemens said the pitcher reacted positively to the scenario of a return to Boston. [...]

In an interview with the pitcher during the playoffs, Clemens spoke fondly about Boston and the many friends he still has in the area.

''Here I am, still pitching," Clemens said in October. ''Debbie and I were looking forward to the day where we could just go up to my old neighborhood [Framingham] and just hang out with some of our friends up there. Maybe go to a few games at Fenway. Same in New York. Just grab five or six of your close friends up there and go out to eat and see a ballgame.

''But here I am, still pitching."

Clemens is 341-172 lifetime with a 3.12 ERA in 672 games and 4,502 strikeouts. Last season, he went 13-8 with a league-low 1.87 ERA and likely would have won his eighth Cy Young Award had Astros hitters supported him better.

He is 100-55 with a 3.19 ERA in 199 starts at Fenway and 53-22 with a 3.55 ERA in 101 starts at Yankee Stadium.

At 42, Clemens still pitched 211 innings and made 32 starts, striking out 185 and walking 62. He was bothered by back and hamstring problems late in the season and into postseason.

The Astros feared Clemens's salary ($18 million last season) would likely increase in arbitration and the team would not be able to offer more than $15 million.

Another Sox link for Clemens would be Boston's offseason addition of his former teammate, Al Nipper, as bullpen coach. Clemens and Nipper remain close friends.

Sox pitchers Curt Schilling and Josh Beckett have idolized Clemens, and Tim Wakefield is a holdover from Clemens's tenure with the team, which ended after the 1996 season.

The Sox also have had contact with Clemens's Houston batterymate, Brad Ausmus, about coming aboard as a backup to replace Doug Mirabelli.

Ausmus, who is from Connecticut and has a home on Cape Cod, is still negotiating with the Astros and would prefer to remain in Houston as a starter, but so far the numbers haven't worked to his satisfaction.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 11, 2005 9:06 AM

It won't make a bit of difference next year when the WHITE Sox repeat.

Posted by: Ray Clutts at December 12, 2005 1:14 PM