Roger Clemens told the Houston Chronicle earlier this week that he had no immediate plans to pitch again after completing 3 1/3 scoreless innings last Saturday evening for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League. But the itch has suddenly returned. Or something along those lines.
Mark Berman of FOX 26 (KRIV) in Houston received a text message from the 50-year-old right-hander on Wednesday night, stating that plans are being made for a second outing on September 7.
That’s next Friday, which would give Clemens nearly two full weeks of rest. If he fares well again perhaps the Astros — or a similarly desperate MLB team — will come calling with a minor league contract offer.
Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, hasn’t appeared in the majors since the 2007 season.
Yankees’ special advisor and former outfielder Hideki Matsui expects to help the club “convince or recruit” Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani, according to a report from MLB.com’s Deesha Thosar. The Yankees are currently viewed as the favorites to sign Otani, though there still figures to be plenty of competition for his services when he finally becomes eligible to enter Major League Baseball.
Matsui also told Thosar that while he hasn’t seen a player find success as a hybrid pitcher/slugger in the majors, he’s taken notice of Otani’s success in both areas. “He’s done well in Japan, so as a baseball fan I’m looking forward to how he’s going to do here in the Majors and in the U.S.,” Matsui said, later adding, “If [pitching and hitting is] something he wants to do, and the team wants it, then why not?”
Neither the Yankees nor any other suitor should be too concerned with Otani’s ability to translate his .332 batting average and 3.20 ERA to MLB — at least, not just yet. There are still a few roadblocks in his path to the major leagues, most notably the lack of approval from the Players Association. Per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the union doesn’t want to sign off on an agreement that would give the Nippon Ham Fighters a $20 million posting fee in exchange for Otani’s services. According to the posting system rules, Otani himself would be eligible to receive no more than a $4 million signing bonus.
The good news in all of this? The union agreed to reach a final decision by Monday, November 21, so there’s still a chance Major League Baseball will see the talented two-way player bring his unique skillset to the field in 2018.