Houston Community News >> Roger Clemens Returns to Houston

5/31/2006 Houston (AP) -- Roger Clemens is coming out of retirement again, agreeing to a $22 million contract to pitch for the Houston Astros for the rest of 2006.

The 43-year-old Clemens, who will be entering his 23rd major league season, is agreeing first to a minor league deal that pays $322,000 over the five-month minor league season. His first start is likely to be at Lexington, Ky., the Class-A team where his oldest son, Koby, plays.

If all goes well, his second start would be June 11 at Double-A Corpus Christi, Texas, followed by a start June 16 at Triple-A Round Rock, Texas. He could be pitching in the big leagues by June 22.

"The ball's in my court now," Clemens said Wednesday at a news conference to announce his return. "This was a difficult decision on my part in a number of situations. I have to now take the next step and get my body ready to come back, get effective, win games."

Even with an abbreviated season ahead, Clemens is uncertain how he'll hold up physically. "I can get into a game situation and my body not respond like I want it to," he said. "I pushed my body hard, but I still need to get some competitive innings, stressful innings. "I call them stressful innings because, at my age, it's stressful."

When he is added to the major league roster, he gets a one-year contract worth $22,000,022 — his uniform number is 22. Because he won't be playing the full season, he gets only a prorated percentage of that, which would come to about $12.25 million if he rejoins Houston in late June. The tentative goal is to have him start against Minnesota on June 22 — if he's put on the big league roster on that day, he would earn $12,632,307.

Clemens said his son was a deciding factor in choosing the Astros. Koby Clemens has been rehabbing since breaking his left pinkie on a slide. But he and his father will fly to Lexington on Thursday, and Koby will be taken off the disabled list by the end of the weekend.