Clemens hurls simulated game

Clemens hurls simulated game

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Roger Clemens won't say the word "retirement," but he won't reveal what he's going to do after the World Baseball Classic, either.

It's likely The Rocket has an idea of what he would like to do, but after throwing a simulated game to Houston Astros Minor Leaguers on Monday, he emphasized that the only commitment he's made is to Team USA.

But if he had to decide today, Clemens hinted he would lean toward not returning for a 23rd season.

"If you ask me today, I'm doing the World Baseball deal and then I'm going to watch baseball," Clemens said.

As in, retire?

"I'm not even going to mention that word," he said. "I've been doing that [retiring] for a couple of years now, and it's not working."

What is working is his repertoire of pitches, which he used during a three-inning simulated session on the backfields of the Osceola County Stadium complex. Clemens pitched to his son, Koby, and nine prospects who are currently participating in a pre-Spring Training minicamp.

Clemens threw 84 pitches, and another 28 during a quick session of batting practice. Koby Clemens connected for a home run in the second round, and the crowd -- including a dozen or so cameras and about 100 fans -- laughed when the elder Clemens responded with one high and tight the next time his son stepped into the cage.

"I said, 'I hit the ball good, hit it out of the ballpark, and the next pitch is up and in, what's the deal?'" Koby laughed. "We were joking with it. We just jab at each other once in a while."

"That was probably one of the harder fastballs I cut loose," Clemens said. "He got my attention. I wish he was around for Round 3 when I was really hot, but for some reason he didn't come back."

Having spent much of the offseason training for the Classic, Clemens is using his time in Kissimmee as a final tuneup in preparation for his departure to Arizona later this week to join Team USA.

"My arm's a little ahead of the curve," said Clemens, who is working out with his longtime personal trainer, Brian McNamee. "I want to make sure my legs are where they need to be. We're going to do our two-a-days until I get to Arizona. I'll see the guys there and hopefully we'll have some fun with this World stuff."

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Beyond that, Clemens isn't tipping his hand. The Astros can't sign him until May 1, but three teams that can negotiate at any time have expressed interest in The Rocket: the Rangers, Yankees and Red Sox. All three have reportedly contacted Clemens' agents.

"I don't know what will happen down the road," Clemens said. "I may be sitting down in May, June, July, and all of a sudden, I'm looking at -- I don't think it's any big secret, three or four teams that came down to talk to me already, gave me their pitch.

"It's very flattering, but I'm not ready to make that commitment right now. Right now, I'm focusing on this commitment."

Clemens added that he was ready to retire two weeks after the Astros' season had concluded, but his wife, Debbie, and Koby talked him out of it.

Clemens' attention is now solely focused on the Classic, and he'll remain in Kissimmee to continue working out with his trainer. He'll throw to the Minor Leaguers one more time on Thursday before heading to Arizona.

Asked about the view from the cage, Koby laughed.

"Like always," he said. "Just dirty, just nasty. Two-seamer running all over the place. Throwing [his split-finger fastball], embarrassing you. He's done it to a lot of players, so it doesn't hurt you that bad."

Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.