Cle­mens is im­pres­sive in mi­nor league start

Los Angeles Times - - Sports -

Roger Cle­mens threw 58 pitches in four in­nings for Class-A Tampa of the Florida State League on Fri­day night, his first mi­nor league start as he pre­pares to re­join the New York Yan­kees.

With owner Ge­orge Stein­bren­ner watch­ing from a private box at Leg­ends Field, Cle­mens, a 44-year-old right-han­der, gave up three hits, in­clud­ing a solo homer, and struck out two against the Fort My­ers Mir­a­cle, a Min­nesota Twins af­fil­i­ate. He left to a stand­ing ova­tion in the mostly full sta­dium.

Erik Lis home­red in the first in­ning off Cle­mens, who came out of the game af­ter need­ing only eight pitches to get through a per­fect fourth in­ning. He planned to put in ad­di­tional work in the bullpen.

The seven-time Cy Young Award win­ner agreed to a $28,000,022, one-year con­tract on May 6 and has been work­ing out at the Yan­kees’ league com­plex in Tampa since last Mon­day. He’s ex­pected to make a start with dou­ble-A Tren­ton next week and could join New York’s ro­ta­tion as early as May 28 at Toronto or June 2 or 3 at Bos­ton.

The com­mis­sioner’s of­fice in­tends to in­ves­ti­gate re­ported re­marks by Yan­kees slug­ger Ja­son Gi­ambi that the sport should apol­o­gize for use of per­for­mance-en­hanc­ing drugs.

Rob Man­fred, ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent for la­bor re­la­tions in the com­mis­sioner’s of­fice, spoke with Yan­kees Pres­i­dent Randy Levine about the mat­ter, a base­ball of­fi­cial with knowl­edge of the con­ver­sa­tion said, speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause base­ball of­fi­cials didn’t want the mat­ter pub­licly dis­cussed.

“I was wrong for do­ing that stuff,” Gi­ambi was quoted as say­ing in Fri­day’s edi­tions of USA To­day. “What we should have done a long time ago was stand up — play­ers, own­er­ship, ev­ery­body — and said: ‘ We made a mis­take.’ ”

Texas Rangers third base­man Hank Blalock, who has had shoul­der dis­com­fort in re­cent days, will have surgery to re­move a rib Mon­day and could be out up to three months.

Blalock sat out Thurs­day’s game against Tampa Bay, but the Rangers thought he would be avail­able for their first in­ter­league se­ries this week­end against Hous­ton.

In­stead, team of­fi­cials said that he had been di­ag­nosed with tho­racic out­let syn­drome, which af­fects the nerves that pass through the shoul­der into the neck. The surgery will re­move a rib on the right side of his up­per chest.

Chris O’Meara As­so­ci­ated Press

LATEST LAUNCH: Roger Cle­mens, known as “the Rocket,” fires in a pitch dur­ing his first mi­nor league start in prepa­ra­tion to join the Yan­kees.

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