By now I’m sure you are aware of the fact that tonight (Saturday August 25th), Roger Clemens is slated to start the game for the Sugarland Skeeters of the Atlantic League. The game will mark his first appearance in professional baseball since going 6-6 with a 4.18 ERA for the 2007 Yankees.
Clemen’s was acquitted in June on all charges of obstructing justice during the trial which looked into his use of performance enhancing drugs during his MLB career, announced Monday that he would be pitching vs the Bridgeport Blue Fish this weekend during a press conference at Constellation Field.
Constellation Field is about a 20 minute drive from downtown Houston, home to the Astros who have been linked to Clemens since the announcement of his return to the professional game.
Houston, mired in the midst a miserable season, are looking for a rallying point for their 40-87 Astros. Clemens is undoubtedly looking for a shot to take his name off of what many columnists are calling the “Steroid Ballot” for the 2013 Baseball Hall of Fame which could feature the likes of Sammy Sosa, Mark McGuire, Barry Bonds and his own.
It would take but one appearance for the Astros this season to officially reset the clock on his HoF ballot, setting it back another 5 year which could be favorable for Clemens if one of the accused players were to become a trailblazer and make it in to Cooperstown during that span.
But before Clemens can be taken seriously, he must navigate his way around a Bridgeport team that has a framilliar feel for the 6 time Cy Young award recipient.
Managed by former Blue Jay great Willie Upshaw, Bridgeport will send out a potential 6 players who once called the Toronto organization home.
Shea Hillenbrand (IF) – Remembered for the infamous ”This is a sinking ship” comment during the ’06 season, Hillenbrand played a collective 223 games with the Blue Jays.
Luis Lopez (IF) – Lopez played in 41 games for Toronto during the 2001 season. The 27 year old hit 3 home runs while driving in 10 during 119 AB’s. Lopez also played in 11 games with the Montreal Expos during their final season in ’04.
Willis Ontenez (IF) – Ontenez got into 42 games with the 1999 Blue Jays collecting 32 hits and driving in 13 while stroking 5 Home Runs while splitting time at 3rd base, 1st and DH.
Luis Figuerora (IF)- Hitting .326/.357/.439 in 62 games for AAA Vegas (2010), Figuerora got into 8 games with the Jays that season collecting 1 hit in 9 AB’s with the club.
Joey Gathright (OF) – Gathright was signed to a minor league contract during the 2009 off season however he was not going make the team out of spring training and was released on March 28th, 2010.
Luis Rodriguez (C)- The Machete played in Toronto’s farm system for 5 years before shipping out to Boston. Rodriguez hit 10 home runs during his tenure with the Jays.
Aside from the sticks, Bridgeport also employs relief pitchers Jonah Bayliss and Rommie Lewis. Bayliss went 7-2 with a 3.96 ERA in 38 games with AAA Vegas in ’09 and Lewis pitched in 20 games for Toronto between 2010-11.
Not to be out done, Roger Clemens pitched for 2 seasons with Toronto in the late 90′s collecting a 41-13 record while winning 2 of his 6 Cy Young Awards in a Blue Jays uniform.
You can follow tonight’s game via the Skeeters website.
This is a direct link to the radio broadcast.
In other news… Brandon Morrow’s back tonight!