It Sure Looks Like Roger Clemens Is Returning to the Bigs in September

by Jason Epstein

Danny Knobler of has the details:

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow told’s Jon Heyman that he plans to have a scout watch Clemens pitch for the independent Sugar Land Skeeters on Sept. 7.

The strong speculation in baseball has been that if all goes reasonably well that night, Clemens will then pitch for the Astros five days later, on Sept. 12 against the Cubs.

As for why Clemens is attempting to return to the majors for a couple of starts, Knobler notes that many believe that the 50-year old is attempting to reset the five-year Hall of Fame wait because “his association with performance enhancing drugs would make his election unlikely.”

Hardball Talk’s Craig Calcaterra has an alternate take:

No, I think the real reason Clemens wants to pitch again is so that the final paragraph of his obituary — and the final image from any documentaries made of the man — ends with triumph as opposed to infamy.

Think about it: if Clemens were to die without having pitched again, the final chapter of his story will be ending the 2007 season injured, not coming back after being named in the Mitchell Report and then fighting prosecution — and winning an acquittal most people scoffed at anyway — for the last several years of his public life. The last image in that SportsCentury bio or whatever would be him in a suit, with a bad haircut, walking down a Washington D.C. sidewalk with his sleazy lawyer.

It is not all that difficult to figure out why the Astros look forward to a Roger reunion. Houston has the worst record in MLB (40—91) and rank 27th in attendance. A Clemens comeback would be an opportunity to boost gate receipts as the awful 2012 season winds down.

Right Field

Brief chronicles of our sporting times.