|Clemens throws 58 pitches over 4 innings in minor league start|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 18 May 2007 15:08|
With owner George Steinbrenner watching from a private box at Legends Field, the 44-year-old right-hander gave up three hits and struck out two against the Fort Myers Miracle, a Minnesota Twins affiliate. He left to a standing ovation in the mostly full stadium.
Erik Lis homered in the first inning off Clemens, who came out of the game after needing just eight pitches to get through a perfect fourth inning. He planned to put in additional work in the bullpen.
The seven-time Cy Young Award winner agreed to a $28,000,022, one-year contract on May 6 and has been working out at the Yankees' league complex in Tampa since last Monday. He's expected to make a start with Double-A Trenton next week and could join New York's rotation as early as May 28 at Toronto or June 2 or 3 at Boston.
``I know that he's going to try to get back as soon as he realistically can. But ultimately the games will tell you. His body will tell you,'' Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said in New York, where the Yankees began a weekend series against the Mets.
``Tonight is game one. We'll get a clearer picture here or a better picture after one, but really probably after two games we'll get a feel for how close he is.''
Ninety minutes before gametime, a sign on the ticket window outside Legends Field - the Yankees' spring training home - read ``sold out.'' Inside, there were plenty of empty seats, but fans gave Clemens a warm reception.
Many stood and cheered when he was introduced and trotted out to the mound accompanied by 4-year-old Nicholas Ketterer, who stood beside the pitcher during the national anthem and then helped him put resin on his right arm.
Lis, a ninth-round draft pick of the Twins in 2005, homered on a 2-2 pitch with two outs in the first. Dwayne White singled in the second and Toby Gardenhire, son of Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, doubled in the third for the Miracle.
Clemens helped the Yankees to two World Series titles and four AL pennants before leaving after the 2003 season with intentions of retiring. With a 348-178 record in 22 seasons, he's eighth on the career wins list and second all-time in strikeouts with 4,604.
The 13-time All-Star, who turns 45 on Aug. 4, was 7-6 with a 2.30 ERA with the Houston Astros last season.
AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum in New York contributed to this report.