If Roger Clemens wants to return to Major League Baseball, it seems as if the ball is quite literally in his hands right now.
Over the past week, he has been consistently denying claims to a variety of sources that he wants to return in 2012, although he did make a rather ambiguous statement about his intentions for the 2013 season.
However, to add to this soap opera today, there has been a new message from Houston upper management.
Astros owner Jim Crane told Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune that he wants Roger Clemens to pitch this season for the Astros, but he wouldn't want him to pitch against any playoff contender.
If you look at the rest of their schedule, the only non-contenders they really play are the Chicago Cubs. The Philadelphia Phillies and Milwaukee Brewers are on the fringe of contention (both are five games back in the NL Wild Card race), but I wouldn't necessarily say they are necessarily non-contenders.
While they are playing the Chicago Cubs right now, they will not see them again until October in the Windy City. Houston would surely want to benefit from all of the money they could make by bringing him back, though, so I can't necessarily see that happening.
For that matter, they play the Milwaukee Brewers on the road as well, and they start their series with the Phillies at home this Thursday, September 13. If he was going to pitch against the Phillies, that would take some drastic movement.
Therefore, this is a rather interesting comment from Houston Astros owner Jim Crane. Could this story be dead yet? Honestly, it won't be over until the final pitch is thrown this season, and then we will start looking at what Clemens meant about 2013.
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