According to Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle, Roger Clemens is on the verge of taking an “active role” with the Astros. While there were all sorts of rumblings late last year about him making a comeback, the 50-year-old will not be pitching.
As of now, the Astros envision Clemens providing guidance to their pitchers during spring training and the regular season. The seven-time Cy Young Award winner is scheduled to meet with general manager Jeff Luhnow next Monday to discuss some of the details.
“We’ve got the whole calendar mapped out and we’re going to sort of figure out what makes sense,” Luhnow said Monday. “But the idea is to plug him in in spring training, plug him in throughout the season, and just have him get a lot more involved with our pitchers.”
Clemens agreed to a personal services contract under former Astros owner Drayton McLane, but he hasn’t been involved with the club since 2007. However, after he was acquitted of all charges in his perjury trial last summer, new owner Jim Crane said that he would welcome him back into the organization. Now he’s ready to make good.
Earlier, Craig wrote about how Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig is back in manager Dave Roberts’ doghouse once again. Puig didn’t slide into second base when he was caught stealing to end Saturday’s game, which irked Roberts.
Puig didn’t earn himself any brownie points on Monday as he was late to a team workout and was benched as a result, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports. Roberts said, “That was a decision he made, not me.” Roberts added that he was disappointed in Puig, though he did note that the former All-Star’s behavior has been improved for most of the season.
Puig, 26, has had a solid season, batting .259/.339/.474 with 26 home runs, 70 RBI, 66 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 554 plate appearances. While he hasn’t provided value on the same level as Justin Turner or Corey Seager, he’s been a valuable part of the lineup which makes this drama all the more unfortunate with just a week and a half before the start of the NLDS.
Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the Pirates were granted an exemption by Major League Baseball and the players’ union which will allow infielder Jung Ho Kang to participate in the Dominican Winter League without being removed from the restricted list.
Kang, 30, has been denied a visa by the Department of State as a result of his third DUI in South Korea last September. Kang was also under investigation in 2015 for alleged sexual assault.
Kang is under contract through the end of 2018 and the Pirates have a club option for the 2019 season as well, so it makes sense they would try to get him into some type of baseball action ahead of next season. The infielder has hit .273/.355/.483 in 837 plate appearances across two seasons in the majors. As Brink notes, Kang has already arrived to the Dominican Republic and will work out with his team, Aguilas Cibaenas, ahead of the start of the season on October 20.