TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -Roger Clemens could be ready to pitch for the New York Yankees by the end of May.
Clemens threw 71 pitches during his first bullpen session on Tuesday at the Yankees' minor league complex.
Barring any problems, Clemens is scheduled to make his first minor league start Friday for Class-A Tampa. He didn't rule out joining the Yankees after two starts in the minors, which would line up him to face Toronto May 28. The next time through the rotation would have Clemens pitching against AL East-leading Boston on June 2 or 3.
``I think anything is possible,'' Clemens said. ``If I come out of the first two decent, they'll pull me aside and we'll all visit about that for sure. I don't think it's out of the question.''
Clemens, who agreed to a $28,000,022, one-year contract on May 6, worked out last week in Lexington, Ky., where his son plays for a Houston Astros minor league club.
``I think I'm right where I need to be to get this under way on Friday,'' Clemens said at a Legends Field news conference. ``Endurance and conditioning, I think I'm very close. I've got to get in a game as quick as possible and I'll have a good telltale sign of what happens on Saturday morning.''
When he rejoined the Astros last year, Clemens agreed to a contract on May 31, made three minor league starts and returned to the majors on June 22.
Clemens will likely throw 45- to 60-pitches Friday. He will also work in the bullpen afterward to get his pitch count up to around 90.
``I'm getting closer,'' Clemens said. ``I want to be able to perform like I'm supposed to. Hold up my end of the deal. That's the pressure that comes along with it. I have the same question you all do, is my body going to hold up? I can't answer that. All I can do is do the work and get ready for that.''
Clemens threw his split-finger, slider and two-seam and four-seam fastballs Tuesday.
``He was on the money,'' said Yankees minor leaguer James LaSala, who caught Clemens. ``Great stuff. Great command.''
Clemens also discussed mechanics with several pitchers, including promising rookie right-hander Phil Hughes, Jeff Karstens and minor leaguer Joba Chamberlain, while working on the mound.
``I enjoy teaching,'' Clemens said. ``I enjoy working with them, talking to them and trying to answer their questions. I give them credit, they've asked some really detailed questions.''
The seven-time Cy Young Award winner started his workout by jogging through the area around the complex. He also took part in fielding drills during his hour on the field.
Clemens said he has no idea if this will be final season.
``How can I answer that?'' Clemens said with a smile. ``I'm doing so great at retirement. I've been telling you for what, how many years now? I wish I knew that.''
Notes: Clemens said he has talked with Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, who lives in Tampa, but hadn't seen the Boss in person. ... Clemens said he has not been contacted by representatives of the Mitchell commission, which is investigating potential steroids use in baseball. ``I don't know anything about that,'' Clemens said. ... Hughes, on the 15-day disabled list with a hamstring injury, has started a running program. He hasn't reached the point yet to where he can throw off a half-mound.
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