Roger Clemens was one famous former Yankee not at Yankee Stadium for Old-Timers’ Day Sunday. Clemens, as we all know, was recently found not guilty of lying to Congress in his denial of using performance-enhancing drugs. He will be on the Hall of Fame ballot later this year, but will the 354-game winner be a Hall of Famer?
“He is to me,” Joe Torre said. “I can’t make other people look at him.”
Torre liked having him on his side with the Yankees, but he knows the stigma on Clemens isn’t going away despite the verdict.
“I’m a little prejudiced on Clemens,” Torre said. “He was like a son to me. Unfortunately the question mark is always going to be there with him.
“It’s something that’s sad for me because Roger Clemens and the way he went about his business — and I disliked him like everybody else until I got a chance to know him. He was a great teammate to these guys. He was very devoted to the team he was playing on, and I always respected that. The closeness, I’ll always have with him. I’m just happy that he’s got a chance to exhale now.”
Willie Randolph said: “Roger, to me, is a great friend, a tremendous warrior. I’d like to see him get back in the game.”
Perhaps the Yankees and Clemens will reconnect at some point, like the team did with Torre and Bernie Williams after they left.
“That’s something that the organization deals with and they determine when the right time is,” Joe Girardi said. “I think as time goes on, they’ll make a decision on what the best thing is to do. But we’ve had a lot of players that have went through difficult times and come back, and they’ve been welcomed back. So I can’t tell you exactly what’s going to happen. But Roger was a great Yankee.”
How do you think fans would react to Clemens if he made a reappearance at Yankee Stadium? And should he be voted into the Hall of Fame?
Maybe this whole CC Sabathia weight loss issue can be sorted out before spring training after all.
Last night, Sabathia went to the Knicks-Lakers game, where Mark Hale caught up with him and asked the big man just how big he really is. Apparently Sabathia was around 290 pounds last season, and he’s cut that number down to 265. A 25-pound loss is pretty significant.
“I definitely could have pitched the way I did last year,” Sabathia said. “But just trying to take a little bit of pressure off (the knee). I feel a lot better. I’m just ready to go and (I) feel good and my arm’s feeling good, so I’m ready to get down there.”
• Back for a second year with the Yankees, and a full season with his Kevin Long-approved mechanics, Curtis Granderson told Bryan Hoch that he feels comfortable this spring. “As funny as it is, last year the adjustments — because they were talked about — seemed complicated and major,” Granderson said. “They were actually really simple. We’ve just got to do the same thing, keep everything simple.”
• Mark Feinsand took a look at the issues facing the Yankees this spring: The back of the totation, the catching situation, A.J. Burnett’s performance, Brett Gardner’s wrist and the depth of the bench.
• Sal Durante, who caught Roger Maris’ 61st home run in 1961, toured Yankee Stadium yesterday and talked about the milestone and his bit of history. There’s a video of the tour, with interviews, at MLB.com.
• At an event in Connecticut, Roger Clemens wouldn’t discuss his upcoming trial or Andy Pettitte’s retirement, but he did discuss his infamous bat throwing incident.
• The Yankees have been linked to Kevin Millwood recently. So have the Indians. Jon Morosi says the veteran is talking to several teams and still making up his mind.
• Over at FoxSports, Jim Bowden ranked Jesus Montero as the 10th-best prospect heading into this season.
• Sam will be so proud… It’s almost impossible for me to know or care less about soccer, but this goal by Wayne Rooney is pretty spectacular.