NEW YORK - Roger Clemens walked onto the field, dressed in full pinstripes, and stood alongside his New York Yankees’ teammates behind home plate for a team photo Tuesday. He hopes to rejoin them in games soon.
The Rocket will have a cortisone shot Wednesday on his ailing right elbow and is confident he will be able to pitch again this season. But he also hinted that the injury is more serious than the diagnosis of “inflammation” in his right elbow that was announced by the team.
Clemens’ start was cut short after four innings Monday in New York’s 7-1 loss to Seattle, and he had an MRI exam after the game. He thought the elbow problem stemmed from a blister on his foot that caused him to alter his mechanics.
The seven-time Cy Young Award winner never before has had a cortisone shot to his arm. He will fly to Houston and be examined by Astros team physician Dr. Thomas Mehlhoff. While the Yankees said a shot was possible, Clemens said he will have one.
“I’m very optimistic. Even if it takes multiple sessions, I’m willing to deal with that,” Clemens said.
Manager Joe Torre said Mike Mussina will take Clemens’ turn this weekend at Kansas City. For now, Torre is expecting Clemens will miss just one turn.
“The elbow seems to be fine as far as all the structural stuff,” Torre said. “I’m thinking that he’s going to pitch, and I’m not looking too far down the road for that to happen, either.”
Clemens wouldn’t reveal exactly what the MRI exam showed. The 45-year-old right-hander, now in his 24th major league season, is known for his physical and mental toughness.
“I kind of know what it says. I know what the guy read for me at home,” Clemens said. “He’s going to tell you something a little lesser, probably.”
Clemens couldn’t say whether the injury would require surgery at the end of the season. Asked whether it was his most serious arm injury since a shoulder operation 22 years ago, he responded: “I’ll be able to answer that in a month, maybe.”
“I’m pushing my body until it starts pushing back. It’s pushing back a little bit,” he said. “The muscles and everything else are just basically shutting down and trying to grab a hold of my arm.”
The Rocket rejoined the Yankees on June 9, a little more than a month after he agreed to a one-year contract worth $28,000,022. Because he joined the team in midseason, his prorated salary is $17,442,637.
Clemens is 6-6 with a 4.45 ERA in 16 starts and one relief appearance. He is eighth on the career wins list at 354 and second on the strikeouts list at 4,668, and he was brought in to provide leadership and stability to a staff decimated by injuries early in the season.
“I’m committed here. I’m not running out on these guys now,” Clemens said. “Until I can’t do it any more, I’m going to continue to push forward.”
He hasn’t had many arm problems since shoulder surgery to repair torn cartilage in August 1985. For much of his career, his most serious injuries were to his groin. He said during his last three starts, by the second inning “my foot’s been on fire. It’s been bleeding.”
“When I have leg problems, I’m in trouble,” he said. “I still feel that my mind is strong enough to deal with my shoulder and elbow, that I can still be effective.”
Mussina had a 17.69 ERA in his last three starts before he was replaced in the rotation last weekend by Ian Kennedy, who beat Tampa Bay in his major league debut. Mussina then allowed two runs and seven hits over 3 2-3 innings in relief of Clemens on Monday — the first regular-season relief appearance of Mussina’s big league career.
“I thought his stuff was a lot better than we’ve seen in his last three starts,” Torre said. “He had a chance to get outside his routine for a little bit and breathe a little bit.”
Add another near miss in this 2013 baseball season - this time it was Detroit's Anibal Sanchez falling just short of a no-hitter.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
Taking a look at some of the greatest catchers off all time.