KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Joking that his luggage had finally arrived, Astros special instructor Roger Clemens was at camp Monday wearing baseball pants as he took time to speak to the pitchers and catchers prior to Monday's workout at Osceola County Stadium.
"I got to visit with all of them and basically share the coaches' expectations of what they're expecting from the guys," Clemens said. "I told them I would be excited if I was around camp right now applying for a job. There's a lot of openings. I tried to fire them up and tell them we're not just a newcomer to the league, and gave them some examples and talked about some of my teammates over the 24 years -- some of them I named, some of them I didn't.
"That part of the game for me in the 15, 20 minutes I spent with them inside is just as important to me as going out and working on their drills, working on their bullpen, working on a seven-inning shutout game -- that mental part of the game. Physically I told them I was always prepared and ahead of the next guy, and no one was going to beat me mentally."
Clemens told the group how important it is to care about your job and never to take anything for granted. He was mentored early in his career in Boston by Tom Seaver and even met Ted Williams. Clemens also received advice from Don Drysdale early in his career.
"Any time I had an opportunity to talk to Nolan Ryan, I did a lot of listening," he said. "I looked at 8-by-10 photos of their mechanics and leg drive. I told [the Astros pitchers and catchers], 'I hope there's a 20-game winner in this clubhouse.' If that doesn't get you, they're paying guys really good money to be just average …
"Hopefully we got the attention of a few of them."