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Roger Clemens held court today at Constellation Field in Sugar Land, home of the independent Atlantic League Skeeters, presiding over a downright jovial gathering to formally announce and discuss his decision to return to the mound at the age of 50. After 5 years away from the game, mostly dedicated to fighting felony charges that he lied to Congress, The Rocket will get the start on Saturday when the Skeeters host the Bridgeport Bluefish.
Clemens successfully defeated those charges, and, after working out for the team on Monday, feels as if he’s got enough left in his tank to throw at least a few professional innings. The Skeeters compete at one of the lowest levels of pro ball and Clemens made it clear that, at least for now, he is not targeting a return to the big leagues. He did say, however, that the Astros, as always, have been very supportive and that his doctor recently told him that he has “the right shoulder of a 30-year-old.” Comments such as that will fuel speculation that Clemens has loftier goals than pitching in the Atlantic League.
Clemens also denied that his impending debut on baseball’s Hall of Fame ballot had anything to do with his decision. There has been speculation that Clemens could push back his somewhat controversial candidacy 5 years by returning to professional baseball. What’s certain is that Clemens has unquestionably put the city of Sugar Land and the Skeeters franchise on the national media map. The press conference was well-attended by both local and national media and there have already been conversations about an inevitable national telecast Saturday night by one of the major networks.