Kevin Devaney of The Journal News is a player when it comes to blogging. Here is the report he e-mailed me from Tampa tonight:
Needless to say, Roger Clemens was sharp. He allowed one run and three hits in four innings with two strike outs and no walks. Tampa, by the way, won the game 2-1 over the Fort Myers Miracle (Twins affiliate).
What was most impressive was Clemens’ command. Of his 58 pitches, 42 were for strikes. He used all of his pitches and was consistently ahead on every batter after the first inning.
Sure, most people are going to dismiss those numbers because it was against a Class A lineup. But know that the Fort Myers lineup included two sons of former veteran major leaguers â€” Ron Gardenhire and Wayne Tolleson. Also note that he topped out at 91 MPH and was getting outs. A team like Fort Myers is chomping at the bit to face a guy like Clemens and are going to be very aggressive. And yet, they managed three hits, two of which were to the opposite field on a soft liners. The other was a home run by new media darling Erik Lis, who drilled a fat 2-2 fastball way over the well in right.
In an attempt to work his body up, Clemens threw 50-55 pitches in the bullpen before the game, which is way more than his routine. He also said he worked out harder than normal. Afterwards, he threw another bullpen session of about 30 pitches.
After pitching in three minor league games to comeback midseason for the Astros last year, the process is clearly being accelerated for Clemens’ return to the Yankees.
He better be careful, though. The major factor with him physically is the strength of his legs. He said on some pitches his legs came through his wind-up well. Others pitches, however, they didn’t.
Overall, Clemens looked pretty darn close to being major league ready. He’ll make another minor league start, on Wednesday in Trenton, before a decision will be made on his major league debut. I’m guessing it’s sooner rather than later.
Clemens, by the way, wouldn’t address Kyle Farnsworth’s comments. He’s basically tired of answering questions about the subject of his travel. Honestly, when Clemens was asked about it, he almost looked like he was thinking “Who cares about Kyle Farnsworth?” although he didn’t say it.
The kid who hit the homer off Clemens, Lis, is a nice story. When his father found out that Clemens was pitching against Fort Myers, he flew in from Illinois to watch.
Lis hit the home run and immediately his dad began finding a way to get his hands on it, which he did. That’s a pretty cool momento to have â€” a ball you hit for a home run off Roger Clemens when you were 23.
When asked if he was going to have Clemens sign it, his eyes widened “No! … I’m not that kind of guy,” he said. It drew a big laugh. As did when somebody asked if he looked at Clemens when he rounded the bases: “I didn’t look him, no way. That was the worst thing I could do.”
Lis said he got a hundred calls from friends, some of which he hadn’t heard from since high school, before the game. I’m sure his phone was going nuts after, too.
The Double-A manager in the Twins organization said before the game that if anyone hits a home run off Clemens, they’d get automatically promoted.
“First he said it’s a hundred dollars if anyone hits one,” Lis said. “That would be pretty cool.”
Wow, a $28 million pitcher serves up a home run to a kid who is giddy over a hundred bucks.
Great job by Kevin. Thanks.