|Torre hopes Clemens can return Saturday|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 03 June 2007 14:01|
Yankees manager Joe Torre said Sunday that Clemens could pitch Saturday against the Pittsburgh Pirates, five days after he was originally slated to return to the struggling team before being scratched because of a fatigued right groin.
``We're tentatively looking at possibly next weekend,'' Torre said. ``The only thing I know is he's going to have an MRI (on Monday) and we'll have more information. They'll see if whatever he's dealing with is old or new.''
Matt DeSalvo was scheduled to start in Clemens' place Monday night at the Chicago White Sox. Kei Igawa, who had been another option, pitched in a Triple-A game Sunday for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Torre said Igawa pitched well, but Scranton pitching coach Dave Eiland said the left-hander needs another minor league outing.
The MRI won't be the only factor that determines whether Clemens pitches on Saturday.
``He's going to be the one that has to feel (ready),'' Torre said. ``We certainly don't want him to say, `Well, I can pitch with this.'
``It's too important that he goes out there every five days or so (rather than) have one start and then maybe the next start you don't have him. So we want to make sure this gets well.''
Making his latest comeback, the 44-year-old Clemens took a prorated share of a $28 million salary hoping to help New York overcome a double-digit deficit in the AL East. He likely would provide an emotional lift, though Torre isn't focused on that.
``We've had a habit of never counting our chickens until they show up,'' he said, ``so we really never got to the point of feeling he was here.''
Clemens had three minor league tuneup starts, the most recent last Monday when he gave up two hits and struck out six in six scoreless innings for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
The seven-time Cy Young Award winner felt pain in his groin during that outing.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said it was possible Clemens' next appearance would be in the minors.
``I would not rule anything out,'' he said.
In other news, first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz will soon be placed on the disabled list with a broken right wrist and a concussion after he was hurt in a collision with Boston's Mike Lowell on Saturday.
With Jason Giambi already out because of a foot injury, Torre said Josh Phelps will be the team's regular first baseman for the foreseeable future, with Miguel Cairo as the backup. Center fielder Johnny Damon has been taking grounders at first but is expected to keep serving mostly as a designated hitter.