Clemens says at 44, challenge will be getting prepared to play Print
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Monday, 07 May 2007 11:06
MLB Headline News

 EDISON, N.J. (AP) -Roger Clemens has won seven Cy Young awards and two World Series rings. His next challenge: getting his 44-year-old body in shape and righting a pitching staff in trouble.
Clemens stunned the crowd at Yankee Stadium on Sunday when he announced from owner George Steinbrenner's private box that he would be rejoining his former team.
Speaking Monday at a charity golf tournament, Clemens said he's preparing to start throwing. With the New York Yankees struggling with injuries to key players and a rotation filled with untested rookies, Clemens knows there's a lot riding on his shoulders.
``Mr. Steinbrenner, he doesn't care how old I am,'' Clemens said. ``He wants me to come back and play like I have in the past.''
It's his past performances that earned Clemens a return trip to New York. He won titles in 1999 and 2000, then helped the Yankees reach the World Series in 2001 and 2003. They lost that final appearance to the Florida Marlins in what was billed as Clemens' farewell to baseball.
But when the Yanks let pitcher Andy Pettitte go to Houston as a free agent, Clemens changed his mind and followed his close friend to the Astros, where he pitched three more seasons.
The Yankees will pay about $26 million in salary and luxury tax in a one-year deal for the Rocket. But Clemens said his return isn't about the contract.
``If you think it's about money, you're greatly mistaken. I'm not going to put my body through the paces I put my body through to earn a few more dollars,'' Clemens said, adding that he has enough money to last him several lifetimes.
It's still uncertain when Clemens will make his debut this season. He said Monday that will depend on how his preparations and conditioning go.
He'll start out in the minor leagues with workouts in Lexington, Ky., where his son, Koby, is playing with a Houston Astros' farm team.
Describing the decision to play for the Yankees, Clemens said it was a situation that unfolded very quickly.
``I didn't know the details of my contract sitting down yesterday,'' he said. ``That's how quick the decision was made to do this.''
Having played for Steinbrenner before, Clemens said all the right things about why he is returning to the Bronx.
``You're talking seven long years that we haven't been in the winners' circle,'' he said.
Clemens is second on the career strikeouts list with 4,604 and has 348 career wins, putting him eighth on the list. Last season with Houston, he was 7-6 with a 2.30 ERA.
When asked whether this would be his last season in baseball, Clemens smiled a bit and declined to say.
``You know I'd be lying to you all if I said it again, because I'm not good at it,'' he said. ``It's great to be able to make a great living, but when it's all said and done it's about how many rings that you have.''
 

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