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March 13, 2006

Roger Clemens


Q. Given the way the Mexican team hit against Canada after they played the USA, do you attach much significance to that first game? And have you discussed much with Jake Peavy about how he approached those hitters?
ROGER CLEMENS: We've talked in general just the starters, myself, Dontrelle, and Jake have talked along with our three catchers. I think as Buck talked about earlier, that as the games go on and we're able to get more film and a few more reports, it's obviously helpful because I'm able to put guys that I don't know -- I'm able to put, you know, faces and names together along with swings and their approach.
So I think the main thing I've been stressing again with those other two starters and some of the pitchers as, you know, we've been together for longer period of time now is that you're still going to pitch with our strengths. You're not really going to -- we're going to attack with what you have not only warming up in the bullpen, but what you feature out on the game mound and just pitch to your strengths.
Q. Has Buck talked to you, or are you set for the finals in San Diego if you guys go that far?
ROGER CLEMENS: No, he has not. We haven't gotten that far as to what's going to happen. They give me a couple scenarios about this week about what they might ask me to do, but really when I walked in the clubhouse everything is, you know, on schedule for Thursday for me. It looks like it's going to happen.
So, you know, I'm just leaving -- I leave myself open to -- for them for whatever they decide they need or want me to do. And right now, the latest is I'm starting Thursday, and that's it as far as I know.
Q. What are the other scenarios?
ROGER CLEMENS: There are other possibilities. The games that were closer, if they felt that some guys were used up or, you know, some of the bullpen guys. I have -- I wouldn't throw a bullpen in between like I will today now and be ready to go.
But we have plenty of arms. Guys are rested. They need to get work in. And to that extent, I would imagine that with everything going on, I don't know if -- I don't know what is expected of our coaching staff if they have to stay in contact with the teams that they guys are all going back to or what have you. Obviously they don't have to do that with me.
I talked to Lachemann and those guys all the time, so, you know, on what they might need or what have you in that situation.
Q. And finally, what's the value of facing Mexico a second time around?
ROGER CLEMENS: Well, I'm able to get a little more information. Karim Garcia, some of the guys I played with for just a short period of time and know them a little bit. There's a few guys that we do know that I'm able to recognize those guys when they step in there and realize what they can and can't do.
But as it goes on now, we're able to get a little more film. Again, just prior to coming up here I was able to get -- the not only the report -- but I'll look over what Jake did, and some of our other right-handers, and then I'll make my assessment from there.
Q. Roger, you've indicated at the end of this tournament you'll retire, be it this year or next year. You've been competing at the highest level for 20 years. Do you know how you're going to turn that off in your brain? Do you know what comes next? Do you know how you move into the next phase of your life?
ROGER CLEMENS: Well, I know immediate plans are I'll head back to Florida and watch the oldest one. My children on spring break, so I know immediately what I'm going to do. You know I have plenty to do.
When I -- again, when I decided to come out of that brief retirement after 2003, I had plenty to do. And I have a lot going on with my foundation. I'm very active in our community. Obviously, I stay busy that way.
So, you know, it doesn't matter when I step away. I will miss competing, but I won't be too far from the game. I'm going to work with other pitchers. You know, different -- in the minor leagues, if any of the teams I've worked for in the past asked me to, I'm going to -- I'd love to work and talk to those pitchers when I have time, even if it's for a couple weeks.
So I'll stay busy. So I'm not too concerned about that. I've been there and done that. I'm getting an opportunity to talk to these guys here again as things go on. I had a nice conversation with Dontrelle about pitching. I think as this tournament goes along, guys a little more comfortable stepping -- you know, coming up and visiting with me and talking baseball, and talking pitching in particular.
Q. Roger, in the future, will you recommend to players who aren't playing in the WBC to play in the WBC? And since it's started, have you heard from any players that you know of that aren't here asking about what it's like to be playing in this?
ROGER CLEMENS: I stayed in contact with guys that I've played with in the past, not only -- a lot of the Astros and a lot of the Yankee guys that aren't here.
But I think, you know, to express how we felt about this tournament, you know, they'll hear that when the guys get back, for the most part. And as far as, you know, encouraging them to play in this? Yes. If they feel they can get their bodies going a couple weeks earlier than normal, I would encourage them to do it.
For me, just looking around, again, you'd have to ask the guys directly, but I think they've enjoyed the newness of maybe traveling and training out here. For me, I've never trained in Arizona. I've been out here at certain times, but never to train.
So it's a nice change for me from being in Florida. I've been able to see Arizona and, of course, here now at this time of year where normally I would never be here.
Q. Roger, Mexico has three power hitters: Durazo, Castilla, and second baseman, Cantu. Have you ever you faced Castilla before?
ROGER CLEMENS: I believe I have.
Q. Where?
ROGER CLEMENS: I know a couple places. We've crossed paths in spring training. I've been doing this for a long time, so I know we've crossed paths somewhere. You're really going to test me if I have to go back there.
I believe I faced Cantu and Durazo obviously I think in Oakland, I would imagine. I'll look at those notes in the next couple of days.
Q. Roger, is there a scenario under which you would not pitch Thursday? For instance, if the USA clinched a spot in the semi-finals?
ROGER CLEMENS: That's what I talked about earlier. Again, you'd have to ask Buck and Lach that. I think they were trying to -- under these rules and the different breakdowns of this bracket of this pool, I guess is how you were describing it, once we left Arizona, on the team flight they had mentioned that.
So, I really didn't pay attention to how things were going to work out or break out. I just wanted to make sure that I do my work to get ready, but also leave a little bit in in case we have an extra inning ballgame, and what happens there in case there is a guy that's one of our relievers that overextended himself for an inning, make sure that they know I'm offering my services then, too.
So, again, before I came up here, I got the go that no matter what, it's a go for Thursday.
THE MODERATOR: Couple more.
Q. Roger, you said Dontrelle came up and you guys talked pitching. He got hit hard in his last start. Did you say anything to him in particular?
ROGER CLEMENS: We just, you know, when we finished stretching, I asked him. I needed somebody to run with, so I grabbed him. I knew he was pitching today. So we did enough to get the plane flight out of his legs and get a little blood in his legs and get a little sweat, and that gave us time to talk about his mechanics and his approach.
And, you know, we really didn't talk about that game, that certain game. We did talk about other games. I was able to watch him pitch when I wasn't performing against him, and it was a great visit. The guy's got a big heart. He's a tremendous competitor. I enjoyed seeing that part of him.
And like I said, mentally he has to be tough. He has to really, really focus because as you know with his mechanics, for him to repeat and hit spots in that strike zone, he really has to focus on what he's doing out there to be able to get strike one and go from there and expand the zone and so on and so forth. So it takes a lot of concentration to be able to do what he does.
Q. Roger, just, it strikes me the last two uniforms you've worn, it's been almost more personal than business for you. You got your hometown for the World Series last year. Can you describe the emotions of representing your country like this?
ROGER CLEMENS: Well, it's been everything I expected. I mean, of course, I enjoy hearing when the guys don't come up to you in particular and tell you things to you, I have the opportunity to hear about them from friends or family or read them directly that you guys in this room have had the opportunity to bounce around and talk to some of the guys, and just to hear their comments is great.
I mean, that's -- you know, that's why I'm here. I knew it would be obviously a lot of fun for me to be here and represent my country.
I think that the neatest thing for me, I've really enjoyed how the fans have taken to it, and I've really tried to step back and absorb the other countries and their fans. I think it's quite nice to see how much they love baseball around the world.
And I know it's a big reason why we're doing this, but I think it's been really fun to see the other countries and their fans show up and really support their teams and have a lot of fun doing this.
I mean, that's what it's all about as far as I'm concerned, people coming away from their stress that they have, the everyday, you know, the life and stress that they have, the ongoing problems that they have grinding and working and doing all that and come and enjoy a ballgame. You see the kids and so on and so forth.
That's what it's all about, guys, for me at this point. You're out there trying to entertain people and put smiles on people's faces. So far so good.
THE MODERATOR: Last one, please.
Q. Roger, did you feel exceptionally good the day after you pitched? I mean, do you bounce back really well still?
ROGER CLEMENS: Yeah, I felt fine. The long innings, it took me a little bit to get going during the long innings. It's a great luxury to have as we all know to get that type of run support.
Yeah, my body bounced back fairly nice. I mean, the accommodations in certain places that we have right now we have to adjust to because it's not like when we're in the major leagues where I know I can go find a hot tub. I know I can find ice. I'm up and down the hotel at the ice machines and have my own wraps, you know, laundry bags for ice bags, sitting on the floor and icing your hamstrings and different things I'm doing to make it happen.
But, you know, it's part of it. For me, it's a maintenance program now, and I'm just used to doing it. But the body bounced back fine. I'm going to get through this bullpen here in the next hour and get ready for Thursday.
Q. I know you say you can just walk away. You have a lot to do with your life. But is it tougher to walk away knowing that you can still be dominant in the league?
ROGER CLEMENS: Not at all. I mean, like I said, I'm glad that I left that percentage point open because I wasn't able to predict the future.
Everything that's happened, the question earlier about having the opportunity to go home and pitch was a lot of fun.
Again, I try and sit back and take in the moments. I can tell you a certain situation that when Andy Pettit was going to the mound to clinch the championship for our hometown. He's pitched in unbelievable big games. Andy's been through a lot of battles out there and huge games, and he was not only amped up, but very emotional before he even took the mound because he knew what it meant to the city.
I can really appreciate that. I appreciate when people have their heart into it. And there's a lot of -- like I said, I've talked to guys here because there's guys from Boston obviously on this team and New York. And once you have a taste of playing in the east in that atmosphere, there's nothing like it.
But as Danny Wheeler knows and Brad Lidge, there's -- the last two years at home in Houston were very special years. They rank right up there.
So it's just been a lot of fun. I can step away and have no problems with that. But they're sure making it tough. One of the guys will grab me at any time. I mean, Griffey got me yesterday, said the red top that I had on really looked nice. I looked good in red. So I knew exactly what he meant.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, folks, very much.

End of FastScripts...

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