Roger Clemens might be ready for a comeback.
Only seven weeks after retiring, Clemens acknowledged on Saturday that he would consider pitching for his hometown Astros next season now that Houston has signed his good friend and former New York Yankees teammate Andy Pettitte.
In town for an awards banquet down the street from baseball's winter meetings, Clemens was asked to quantify the possibility he'd play in 2004.
There's a percent,'' he said.
Clemens also said he was flattered by the interest by the Astros and in Houston, and said Pettitte was also lobbying him to join the team.
Clemens is expected to decide sometime in January.
The Astros agreed with Pettitte on a $31.5 million, three-year contract on Thursday, and almost immediately there were questions about whether Clemens would join him.
``It's my understanding that he's retired. Do you un-retire?'' Astros manager Jimy Williams said in his scheduled session with reporters on Saturday. ``I guess he can, as others have. But we take one thing at a time.''
Pettitte, who lives in the Houston area, took $7.5 million less to sign with the Astros than the Yankees had offered. He might have also given up the chance to become the winningest pitcher in the history of the storied franchise.
``To a certain degree, it's a surprise to get him, given where he came from,'' Williams said. ``I think it means an awful lot to the people of that area that he would want to come here and pitch for the major league team where he grew up. He chose not to think about a record as much as coming home.''
Clemens also lives in Houston. He talked about pitching closer to home in 1996 when he left his first team, the Boston Red Sox, but signed with the Toronto Blue Jays. He was traded to the Yankees before the '99 season and retired this year with six Cy Young Awards and two World Series championships.
Now that his workout buddy has signed with their hometown team, though, it might make a comeback more enticing to Clemens. Toward the end of his career, the Texas Rangers tried to give Nolan Ryan as many starts at home as possible, and a similar deal could be worked out for Clemens.
Roger always said he was 99 percent retired,'' said one of his agents, Randy Hendricks, who also represents Pettitte. ``I still think he is. But the 1 percent would be the Houston Astros.''
If he does comeback he be the 3rd pitcher in the rotation then Miller.