Roger Clemens invited to pitch for Puerto Rican team

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Look, kids: a real-life Kenny Powers!

According to Christian Red of the New York Daily News, former major league starter Roger Clemens has been invited to join the pitching staff of Indios de Mayaguez, a Puerto Rican winter league team that recently signed a contract with his son, 24-year-old corner infield prospect Koby Clemens.

“The Rocket” has been throwing bullpen sessions for the past couple of weeks at the Indios facilities. And while he hasn’t responded yet to the invite, the club’s GM seems optimistic that something might happen.

“He didn’t say ‘Yes,’ and he didn’t say ‘No.’ I hope he does play, because that would put people in the stands,” said Indios de Mayaguez general manger Ramon Conde.

“We have a beautiful stadium in Mayaguez by the ocean that (seats) 15,000. Clemens would put a few thousand people in the seats. The door is open.

He got his fastball up to 91, 92. I’m pretty sure he (could) get in shape in two weeks. I think he would be interested to play with his son.”

Clemens last pitched in the big leagues back in 2007, when he registered a 4.18 ERA and 68/31 K/BB ratio in 99 innings with the Yankees. The 49-year-old, due back in a D.C. court on April 17 for a hearing related to his previous perjury charge, would have to pass a physical before actually suiting up for Mayaguez.

Pitch clock cut minor league games by 25 minutes to 2:38

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NEW YORK — Use of pitch clocks cut the average time of minor league games by 25 minutes this year, a reduction Major League Baseball hopes is replicated when the devices are installed in the big leagues next season.

The average time of minor league games dropped to 2 hours, 38 minutes in the season that ended Wednesday, according to the commissioner’s office. That was down from 3:03 during the 2021 season.

Clocks at Triple-A were set at 14 seconds with no runners on base and 19 with runners. At lower levels, the clocks were at 18 seconds with runners.

Big league nine-inning games are averaging 3:04 this season.

MLB announced on Sept. 9 that clocks will be introduced in the major leagues next year at 15 seconds with no runners and 20 seconds with runners, a decision opposed by the players’ association.

Pitchers are penalized a ball for violating the clock. In the minors, violations decreased from an average of 1.73 per game in the second week to 0.41 in week 24.

There will be a limit of two pickoff attempts or stepoffs per plate appearance, a rule that also was part of the minor league experiment this season. A third pickoff throw that is not successful would result in a balk.

Stolen bases increased to an average of 2.81 per game from 2.23 in the minors this year and the success rate rose to 78% from 68%.

Many offensive measurements were relatively stable: runs per team per game increased to 5.13 from 5.11 and batting average to .249 from .247.

Plate appearances resulting in home runs dropped to 2.7% from 2.8%, strikeouts declined to 24.4% from 25.4% and walks rose to 10.5% from 10.2%. Hit batters remained at 1.6%.