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 NEW YORK (AP) -Roger Clemens dealt with the hoopla surrounding his first start this season with relative ease. He's looking forward to his second outing, too, even though the focus could be even greater.
Clemens is scheduled to face the Mets on Friday night at Yankee Stadium in the opener of the season's second three-game Subway Series. Clemens originally was drafted by the Mets in 1981 and has a long history of notable performances against the club.
``I enjoy it I think because all the fans here on both sides really enjoy it and get geared up for it,'' Clemens said Wednesday.
The Rocket returned to the majors last weekend, getting the win in New York's 9-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. He struck out seven in six innings, allowing three runs and five hits. He retired his final seven batters, showing a good splitter and a fastball around 88 mph on most pitches.
Clemens' first start in pinstripes in four years originally was pushed back because of a scar tissue injury in the right groin. He threw another bullpen session Wednesday and said he feels fine.
``I'm just really getting back into the swing of things again,'' Clemens said. ``Somewhat of a set routine now, last couple of days, and I've had an opportunity to visit with some of my teammates, young and old, that I haven't performed with here. They're getting to know me a little bit and see my routine and what I'm about.''
After spending the past three seasons with his hometown Houston Astros, Clemens came out of retirement again when he agreed May 6 to a contract with the Yankees that will pay him about $17.4 million. The seven-time Cy Young Award winner had three tuneups in the minors before joining the team.
``Performance-wise, I expect to get sharper and stronger,'' he said.
Clemens would take a similar performance to the one Chien-Ming Wang turned in Tuesday night. Wang allowed one run in seven innings to help the Yankees beat Arizona 4-1 for their seventh straight win, an outing Clemens took particular delight in.
``I think he was a little surprised when we crossed paths at the beginning,'' Clemens said of the quiet Wang. ``I had an opportunity to tell him I enjoyed watching him work. It was pretty impressive.''
Clemens is 3-5 with a 5.09 ERA in 10 regular-season starts against the Mets and also has pitched in two World Series against them. He had no record and a 3.18 ERA in two starts for Boston when the Red Sox lost to the Mets in 1986 and tossed eight shutout innings in Game 2 of the 2000 Series when the Yankees beat the Mets in five.
During the 2000 World Series, Clemens fielded part of Mike Piazza's broken bat after a foul ball and threw it toward Piazza as the batter ran for first base.
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