02/29/08 4:27 PM ET
McLane intends to honor Clemens' pact
Astros owner didn't discuss matter with Wade, Smith on Friday
By Alyson Footer / MLB.com
"I've been in business 46 years and I've never backed out of a contract," McLane said. "We have a very valid 10-year agreement with Roger. The issue is, he has to decide when he's going to retire. Roger, he is not ready to say that. That's sometime in the future."
Clemens arrived to the Astros' Spring Training complex on Tuesday, largely unannounced, and the next day threw several rounds of batting practice to the club's Minor Leaguers, who are currently participating in a pre-Spring Training minicamp.
Clemens did not show up to the complex on Friday, sending word to a contact in the Minor League building that he would not be coming.
The spectacle created by Clemens' presence has attracted the attention of swarms of reporters from around the country, but because of Clemens' ongoing legal issues, the levels of absurdity regarding The Rocket Show have reached new heights.
The FBI has officially begun an investigation to determine if Clemens perjured himself while giving sworn testimony to members of Congress, and in light of the seriousness of the case, the Astros may have to re-evaluate Clemens' role during the current spring season in Kissimmee.
McLane said early Friday that he planned to discuss the matter with general manager Ed Wade and club president Tal Smith, but at the end of the day, McLane said they had not discussed the Rocket.
"We talked about a lot of things today, but we did not get to that," McLane said.
McLane declined to speculate what the club would do should Clemens be indicted and then convicted of perjury or obstruction of justice.
"We'll have to look and see," McLane said. "I'm not aware of what all is in the contract. To my knowledge, the FBI is just investigating. That's a long way down the road. We will always do what the honorable, correct thing is to do."
When Clemens signed his first of three contracts with the Astros in 2004, he also signed a personal services deal that would kick in upon his official retirement from baseball.
Last November, Clemens informed McLane he was ready to begin serving the contract, but more than three months later, he still hasn't retired. While the contract calls for the Rocket to work with Minor Leaguers, his presence at Spring Training this year is not fulfilling responsibilities spelled out in his personal services agreement.
In other words, Clemens, who will return to Houston this weekend but could be back in Florida on Monday, is here on his own. He's not being paid anything extra from the Astros.
"Roger is here because he wants to be here," McLane said. "He doesn't get paid anything by us. He hasn't decided if he's going to retire yet. He's certainly not getting paid. He's welcome to come down here."
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.