07/12/2004 3:45 PM ET
Clemens relishes starting nod
Right-hander ready to go even on short rest
By Jim Molony / MLB.com
|Roger Clemens is excited to be starting for the NL in front of his hometown fans. (David J. Phillip/AP)
HOUSTON -- Even on short rest, there may no better choice to start the 75th All-Star Game than Roger Clemens.
Florida manager Jack McKeon tabbed the Houston right-hander and six-time Cy Young Award winner to be the National League starter in Tuesday night's Midsummer Classic at Minute Maid Park, the first in Houston since 1986.
"I'm really looking forward to it," Clemens said Monday. "Obviously it's a great honor to be selected. I'm excited for the other players that are here and I'm excited for our city."
Clemens, 10-3 with a 2.62 ERA, pitched Saturday against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Though he isn't certain how long he'll go in the All-Star Game, he insists he'll be ready despite the short rest.
"You usually throw between starts," Clemens said. "It's not like they're needing me to go seven [innings]. I'll be fine."
Starters can go a maxium of three innings. With so many other talented starters on the NL roster, including Arizona's Randy Johnson, San Francisco's Jason Schmidt, Tom Glavine of the New York Mets and Carlos Zambrano of the Chicago Cubs, it is doubtful Clemens would be asked to go more than an inning or two.
"Whatever Jack wants," Clemens said. "He'll do whatever it takes to put us in the best postion to win the game, I'm sure."
Clemens, who turns 42 on Aug. 4, will be making his 10th All-Star appearance and perhaps his last, although the Future Hall of Famer said he has made no decision on retirement.
"There's more than just playing this game here tomorrow night," he said. "For me, there's a lot going on here in my home state, and it's pretty exciting for me and my family and my extended family. We feel real giddy about this whole event. They've kept me busy.
"We're going to make the most of it. Once I walk off the field tomorrow, my day is certainly not done -- there's a lot of other things I need to do."
Clemens also started and was the winning pitcher in the last All-Star Game played in Houston. He went three perfect innings and was named the Most Valuable Player of the 1986 game at the Astrodome.
"My first one in the Astrodome went by so fast," Clemens said. "I see the clips -- obviously I was a lot younger. You see all the great players in the clubhouse and you're wide-eyed. [Now] you're able to to kick back and enjoy what's going on."
Clemens also enjoys seeing his old friend Joe Torre, who managed the pitcher during his five-year tenure with the New York Yankees.
"I still feel very close to him; however, that doesn't keep me from wanting to beat his brains out in the game tomorrow night," Torre said.
Jim Molony is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.