Roger Clemens responds to Mike Piazza

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In his new book Mike Piazza talks about taking karate lessons and all of the strategizing he did in anticipation of the big brawl he ended up never having with Roger Clemens. Clemens showed up at Astros spring training yesterday and spoke to the Houston Chronicle about that:

“He’d have to stand in line. I think there was about three guys on the Yankees that wanted a piece of me more than (he) did. He’d probably have to get in line.”

That was joking. Well, kind of joking. He said that there were guys he didn’t get along with during his career that he does now having met them off the field. He said “most of them” were good guys. I wonder who he thinks wasn’t. Clemens also noted that rather than karate training, Piazza needed speed training:

“He needs to go get with Jesse Owens or somebody on his speed, I think. He chased some dude around the spring training site one time, didn’t he, or something? …”

That refers to Guillermo Mota, who Piazza once tried to fight but … wasn’t fast enough to catch.

OK, with that I think I’m getting kinda tired of Mike Piazza stories. We’ve talked an awful lot about him lately. Starting to sound like me and my college friends talking about old times. No one but us wants to hear that.

Check out Minute Maid Park without Tal’s Hill

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During the offseason, the Astros finally got rid of Tal’s Hill in center field. It was a throwback to older stadiums, some of which had uneven topography — Crosley Field, namely. As unique as it was in the age of cookie cutter sports stadiums, most of us were holding our collective breaths hoping no one ruptured an Achilles or suffered another brutal injury trying to navigate the hill while attempting to catch a fly ball.

We saw what it looked like during reconstruction:

And now, via Julia Morales of ROOT Sports, we see what it looks like after all the work has been done:

The Astros are allowing fans with Lexus Field Club tickets to stand on the new warning track to watch batting practice and shag fly balls as well, Morales notes. Lexus Field Club is where Tal’s Hill used to be.

Good riddance, Tal’s Hill.

Jhoulys Chacin will start Opening Day for the Padres

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Jhoulys Chacin will start on Opening Day, April 3 against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. It will be Chacin’s second Opening Day start, the other coming in 2013 with the Rockies against the Brewers. He’ll be the fifth different Padres pitcher in as many years to start on Opening Day.

Chacin, 29, inked a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Padres in December. The right-hander spent the 2016 season with the Braves and Angels, compiling an aggregate 4.81 ERA with a 119/55 K/BB ratio in 144 innings.

Lin notes that Chacin will be followed in the rotation by Clayton Richard and Jered Weaver. It will be an interesting rotation, to say the least, as it will arguably be the worst in baseball.