The 50 year-old right-hander is trying to make a comeback, and will start for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League against Bridgeport this Saturday.
Clemens last pitched in the Majors in 2007 for the Yankees, where he started 18 games and was 6-6 with a 4.18 ERA. This was four years after he retired the first time in 2003, and went on a retirement tour with the Yankees and had lovely parting gifts bestowed upon him every time he visited a different city during the season.
But don’t think that a five year lay-off will hurt Clemens’ pitching, said a source close to both Clemens and the Skeeters.
“Roger has this innate ability to only believe what he wants to believe, and that becomes his reality,” the source said. “He’s been able to do it his whole life. He really, honestly thinks it’s only been a few months since he last pitched in the big leagues. In his mind, it’s not 2012. It’s like summer 2008 or something. And nothing, nothing anybody can say to him will make him think otherwise. He lives in a world where his own truth is what matters, as evidenced by the last few years, I think…”
And what about the fact that he really is 50 years old, trying to break 49 year-old Jamie Moyer’s recently-set record as the oldest pitcher to win a game in the Major Leagues? “It’s crazy, really,” said the source. “You have a conversation with him, you would never, ever suspect that he’s a 50 year-old man. It’s remarkable. It’s sad and a little scary, but it’s remarkable.”
Just don’t ask Clemens to take a drug test, if that’s cool.