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.

Phillies walk off winners thanks to a poor decision by Marcell Ozuna

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The Phillies’ bullpen, which has not been good as of late, gift-wrapped Monday’s game for the Cardinals. Starter Nick Pivetta was brilliant, fanning 13 while allowing two runs in 7 1/3 innings. But things unraveled after he left the game. Victor Arano took over for Edubray Ramos to start the ninth inning with the Phillies leading 4-2, but he allowed a one-out single and a double. After striking out Harrison Bader, Arano appeared to strike out Yairo Munoz for the final out of the game, but the ball trickled through the legs of catcher Andrew Knapp, allowing a run to score and the tying run to move to third base. Lefty Adam Morgan came in to face pinch-hitter Kolten Wong. Wong tied the game up, sneaking a single into center field.

In the 10th inning, Jake Thompson gave up the go-ahead run on a leadoff home run to Tommy Pham. It seemed like it was just going to be another one of those losses that have become increasingly common for the Phillies lately. But the Phillies’ offense didn’t go down quietly, even though it hadn’t put a runner on second base since the start of the second inning when J.P. Crawford doubled. In the bottom half of the 10th, Hoskins blooped a single into shallow left-center to start the inning. Hoskins moved to second base on a ground out from Odubel Herrera. Matt Bowman intentionally walked Carlos Santana, then struck out Jesmuel Valentin. That brought up Aaron Altherr, who replaced Nick Williams after Williams took a baseball to the face off of the right field fence. Bowman fell behind 2-1, then threw a 90 MPH fastball that Altherr lined into left field. Rather than keep the ball in front of him, Marcell Ozuna decided to dive for the ball to make the final out, but he missed. The ball trickled past him, allowing the tying and the game-winning runs to score, giving the Phillies a come-from-behind win.

On the list of people happy to see Ozuna miss that ball are Altherr (of course), Arano, Morgan, and Thompson. But perhaps no one was happier than manager Gape Kapler. The win might help take the heat off of him somewhat after another poor performance from the bullpen. When a team struggles, everyone wants a scapegoat and Kapler is an easy target. He has been all year, undeservingly.

Phillies radio broadcaster and former major league reliever Larry Anderson said after the bullpen meltown, “Not everybody can pitch in the ninth inning. And I know Gabe Kapler thinks they can, but they can’t.” Aside from Ramos and Seranthony Dominguez (who was unavailable after throwing 52 pitches between Saturday and Sunday in Milwaukee), no one in that bullpen has been reliable. The closer, Hector Neris, just got optioned to Triple-A. You work with what you have, and right now, Kapler doesn’t have a whole lot. Thankfully for him, he wasn’t punished with another loss thanks to Ozuna.