Clemens comfortable with role in bullpen

Clemens comfortable with role in bullpen

DENVER -- A starter for much of his career in the Minor Leagues, right-hander Paul Clemens has gotten comfortable as a reliever in his first year in the Majors. Clemens entered Wednesday with a 2-2 record and a 4.35 ERA in 31 innings across 16 appearances.

"I feel like I've started to settle in the last two, two-and-a-half weeks," he said. "Knowing these guys can use me any time -- short, long, situationally. I've kind of settled into it and know every day I have to find a way to get my body fresh and be ready to pitch each night. My body has acclimated to it quickly and I like my role."

While Clemens uses the hot tub and various exercises to try to ensure his velocity and mechanics are in top shape daily, the mental aspect of being ready to come to the ballpark on a daily basis with a chance to pitch has taken a few adjustments as well.

"Whatever I did on that fourth or fifth night as a starter to get ready to pitch, I'm doing that every night, which is relaxing and focusing on success and doing the little things I can to stay mentally fresh and prepared," he said. "That phone could ring any night."

Astros manager Bo Porter uses Clemens in a "flex" role, meaning he could use him in long relief and just for an inning or less.

"We use him both ways and he's been successful in each one of those ways, and it's like it's a game-by-game situation," Porter said. "We will not leave him down there long without throwing."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.