As Scott Kazmir delivered his best outing in two years on Wednesday night at Constellation Field, another pitcher upstaged him with highly-anticipated news.
According to multiple reports that surfaced during Wednesday’s 6-1 victory for the Sugar Land Skeeters over the Bridgeport Bluefish, Roger Clemens is confirming that he will pitch again for the Skeeters.
Clemens retired ten of the 11 batters he faced in his return to professional baseball for the first time in five years on August 25.
Fox 26 sports director Mark Berman reported that Fox received a text message from Clemens stating he expected to start again for the team in their September 7 home game against the Long Island Ducks.
However sources within the Skeeters organization would not confirm that date to pingroof.com.
“They didn’t get that (start date) from (the Skeeters),” said a source with knowledge of the situation.
Another source stated that manager Gary Gaetti would ultimately make the decision as to which specific date Clemens would start.
Gaetti would have to choose which current member of the rotation to supplant, as he did with Michael Nix last Saturday, to accommodate the former Cy Young Award winner.
If Gaetti were to stick with his current five-man rotation, the September 7 game would be a start for Jason Lane, who has been one of the most effective Skeeters pitchers since joining the team.
With an off-day on Thursday, Gaetti could choose to skip Kelvin Villa or Nix’s next turn to move the rest of the rotation up a day, but that would then bump Tim Redding from the September 7 start.
The source stated that Gaetti would not do anything disruptive to his regular rotation.
No matter which date Clemens does eventually return to the mound, there is also additional speculation, fueled by the pitcher’s own hints following his last start, that he plans a “surprise”.
The majority of speculation centers around the possibility that his son, Koby Clemens, will join him in his next appearance.
The younger Clemens is a former Houston Astros prospect and is currently a member of the Toronto Blue Jays organization. Koby has split the 2012 season between Dunedin in high Class A and AA New Hampshire.
Besides several games as a designated hitter, Koby has been primarily used this season as a catcher, fueling a theory that Roger wants Koby to be his catcher in his next start at Constellation Field.
Still, when asked about the possibility of Roger being joined by Koby for a game, Skeeters officials refused to comment and repeatedly stated that Koby Clemens is currently under contract with a major league organization.
But Koby’s current contract status does not necessarily preclude the possibility that he could play for Sugar Land. Clemens could ask for and be granted his release from the organization if he chose to do so.
Beyond that, one source with knowledge of the situation said that it is possible that Toronto might agree to option Clemens to the Skeeters, either for the single game or for the remainder of the season.
New Hampshire’s Eastern League season ends on Labor Day, September 3, four days before Clemens’ target date for a return. The Atlantic League regular season ends September 23.
As of the end of Wednesday night’s game, though, no one within the Sugar Land organization would confirm that either Clemens is bound for Constellation Field again.
The team finished up a six-game homestand against the Bridgeport Bluefish and has an off-day Thursday before beginning a road trip on Friday that takes them to Camden and York.
The September 7 game with the Ducks is the first game back from the road.