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March 8, 2006

Roger Clemens


Q. I guess I'll go first. Who presents a greater threat to you at the plate, Koby or the average South African hitter?
ROGER CLEMENS: Well, probably Koby because he's seen me more right now, but that doesn't mean that we'll take South Africa lightly. I think we all know that, and they put up some runs from what I understand last night. We didn't see it, but like the last two days we've had a briefing as far as scouting report goes. So I'll get to know a few of those guys.
But for me, it just comes down to making sure my body's healthy and it feels good and go out and execute and make some good pitches. That's what we're all trying to do.
Q. Roger, not asking you to comment specifically on Barry Bonds --
ROGER CLEMENS: I lost you here. Oh, right in front of you.
Q. I'm not asking you to comment on the allegations that have arisen in the past day about Barry Bonds, but as a pitcher, how do you feel about Bonds or any hitter who is loaded up on steroids and might gain an advantage that way?
ROGER CLEMENS: Well, my same comment. I worry about guys' health, your health. I could care less how many home runs you hit or how many records are being broken.
Again, I don't know how long the Congress, the hearings were. But after two hours of just listening to my hero this and my hero that and their records are falling and being broken, I think the only -- the only comment that I heard out of the entire hearings when that was going on was I think it was a lady Congressman, you know, directed her question to Mr. Conseco and, you know, said that in your book you said if you use these steroids right and they're done right, they're okay.
And today, at that point in time, Jose was saying it's not okay. So she said they think they ought to pull his books from the shelves across the nation. That was the only thing I really got out of it.
You know, I don't worry about people's records. You still have to hit a baseball, but, you know, I think we've been warned that your body will break down. Things will happen. But I worry about your health.
I mean, I can take it one step further. You know, don't think I wasn't pissed off. I was taking for anti-inflammatories for six years, the Vioxx, and then they tell me it's bad for your heart.
So no wonder when I was covering first base my heart is over here somewhere. They were supposed to give me a little more time, but they okayed that, and it was the most one of most prescribed drugs ever. And now they tell us it's bad for us.
So all I can do is rely on you, what you're going to tell me as a physician or a doctor or what's out there, if this is good or bad for me. Because I'm going to have swelling in my joints. I think we all do at a certain age if you push your body to a certain extent. So I guess to get back to answer your question, is I worry about the man's health more than I do about him hitting homeruns or whatever this witch hunt we're on after him for that.
You still have to hit the baseball. So I guess that's my answer, if that helps.
Q. Roger, it's March 8th. Does this feel like a normal March 8th for you physically or are you ahead, behind? How do you feel?
ROGER CLEMENS: Physically, I feel like my arm's a little bit ahead of the curve. I've told you most of y'all that I've had interviews with so far from being in this event. You know, the soreness I had just the other day after I threw, it was good soreness like you would have in spring training.
But the event we're having right now is totally different. It's what I expected after the first game to hear the comments from my teammates in the locker room. So I was hoping that those are the comments that you would hear from some of our guys. It's pretty exciting, like I said. When you get out there and the fan support you have. I tip my hat to the fans from Mexico. I mean, the chanting and the festive atmosphere that we had.
It's pretty -- it's a very neat deal for, not only myself, but those guys in that locker room. So physically, you know, again, I expect to go out there and do what I do, and hopefully I'll have good soreness from it. But right now I seem to be on schedule.
Q. Roger, just following up on the end of your previous statement. You do consider this to be a witch hunt on what's going on with Barry?
ROGER CLEMENS: Well, I just -- I don't think it's going to change anything that's going to happen. I think that he got hammered pretty good last year, and it seems to be happening again this year. I don't know if it's going to change anything.
But, again, until I guess -- you know, something's found out or something, you know, somebody's -- these are other people that are judging him. I guess you hear about tax evasion and all these other things. Until there's substantial evidence in that nature coming out about it, I guess I'd worry about it for them.
But I know Barry, and I consider him a friend. He's fun to watch. I mean, I don't know what else to tell y'all. I enjoy -- you know, because of history, the history we both have had facing him on the field the few times that we've had a chance to battle against one another. But I'd worry about their health. That's a choice that you make for your health.
It's no different for me, like I said. When I go it a physician an ask for an anti-inflammatory for my shoulder or my back or my leg or whatever it might be, I trust this guy. I trust that they know what they're doing. I trust that the people who the FDA, whoever, it goes well on past that. I think we all do in this room when you get a medicine.
Again, my mother taught me about that a long time ago. The different medicines that she had to take, if it was really the best medicine for her. So, it's something you're putting in your body and you want to make sure it's not harmful but it is going to help you down the road if that's what you need.
Q. Some of your teammates after you pitched on Sunday said that you should sign up -- seeing what you could do on Sunday, you should sign up to pitch again this season. Will that influence your decision at all? And also, of the four teams you've mentioned, you might play for a few this season. The Rangers are the only one here in Arizona. Have you thought at all about visiting, going out to visit with them?
ROGER CLEMENS: We've talked about that. It may happen. But, you know, being around these guys, certain guys, whether it's in this setting or just being around, I've gotten the same comments, and I understand it.
You know, again, it's been more difficult than I had expected it to be because I do love to compete. And, you know, you just when you sit down and you have a talk with the different clubs and what they need and their needs that they feel they need, you know, I appreciate that they feel that I can still compete.
I wouldn't be, again, here at the World games if I didn't feel like I could compete and compete at a high level. I wanted to make sure I was ready for this so I don't let my teammates down, first and foremost, that are in there.
But, you know, I don't see myself starting this season unless something really -- something really, really kicks in to where I get that edge. I'm just trying to fade away a little bit.
And like I said, maybe, I don't know, May, June, I don't know what's going to happen. I've tried to make the call a few times. It's just not working. I didn't expect I can -- you know, one day I will. I'll pull my journal out and get it down on paper. I didn't expect Andy Pettit to come to Houston and make the comments and then I get an opportunity to pitch at home, which has been a blessing over the last two years what we've been able to -- not that baseball was never on the map, but it was always football first in Texas and now it's changed a little bit over the last couple of years with the excitement that we brought to Houston.
I also know about playing baseball in the east as well as everyone that's in this room that's covered baseball, the atmosphere that you have. You never forget those times of competing in those stadiums in that atmosphere.
So it's great to hear the comments. This is a luxury. I get to hear from a lot of guys that are on those teams here. And believe me, if I ever sit still in the clubhouse, which I very rarely sit in one spot, if I get in the hot tub back there and they got a chance to get my ear, they're getting my ear.
So, you know, it's nice to, again, to get to know some guys' personalities a little bit, and that's what I'm able to do here
THE MODERATOR: In the back and then one more.
Q. One follow-up. I wanted to ask you a different question, but let me just follow up on that. How hard would it be for you to leave professional baseball?
ROGER CLEMENS: It wouldn't be hard at all. I feel I'm very comfortable with, again, I don't feel like using the word retire or quitting. I don't like quitting on people. I'm going to pass the baton.
You look around. There's some -- guys like Jake Peavy and Dontrelle take the mound for us. Our game's in great hands. There's some great young players, great young pitching.
I obviously know pitching. You can be very average and do very well in this game. So that's why I continue to try and stroke these young kids to really be great, trying to be great, and not just average.
But I won't have to look in my mirror. I don't have to look back. I can honestly say that I've done everything I possibly could in this game to make myself better and get better even -- even from start to start when I feel I didn't perform.
So I'll miss competing, but I won't miss the game and I won't be that far away it because I enjoy working with the young kids, the young pitchers, and trying to find out a little bit about their personalities, not that they can throw 95. A lot of guys can do that here, but if they have a will. You know, if they can get out there and you know you're going to have a second and third and one out and can you will yourself through that game? Can you will that ball across the plate? I think you have to have that if you're going to be very successful at our game.
Q. The question I want to ask you initially though, are you familiar with this new Major League approved supplements that the Major League is going --
ROGER CLEMENS: It's great. Go ahead.
Q. Tell me your comments about it.
ROGER CLEMENS: Well, I just got the paperwork on it also. I think it's great because I think that you can spend your own money and go out to these health food places and get it and from my understanding is that some of it is not regulated. You can get it, bring it in, and get it tested and then go through that product. And then in six months, go buy the exact same product and it could have something different in it. So you have to be careful with that.
I mean, that's why when guys do get -- I wouldn't say caught's the right word -- do have a problem with this, is that we're all ears because we like people to come out and say, hey, this is what we did. This is what happened so the younger kids that are trying to gain weight the proper way or by whatever it is, the protein bars, the shakes.
We make money with our body. This is what we do. You want to recover. I mean, it's just part of it.
So, those are important things. But to have somebody test that for you and go through it, I think it's a great idea. I would hope it would put a lot of guys' minds at ease.
Q. Given the inexperience of the South African players, will you have any reluctance about pitching inside Friday?
ROGER CLEMENS: I'm going to pitch inside. I'm going to pitch outside. I don't really understand. If you know pitching, you pitch inside to expand -- make a 17-inch plate a 24-inch plate. It's as simple as that.
As far as pitching inside, if our report says that some guys can't handle the ball inside and you can get them out that way, of course you'd pitch inside.
So my -- I think I know who's going to catch the game, and that's as important to me as the scouting report for those guys to sit down and have a nice rhythm with -- we have three new catchers that we've never worked with here, for me anyway. So that's important.
I'll need to sit down and make sure that we're on the same page of how we want to attack and approach the game. And as we get deeper into this competition, I think it will be even more important to make sure that you get on the same page because we're going to be allowed to throw more pitches. So you're going to get deeper in the games, and you will have a handful of situations that you have to be on the same page with the guy back there. That's as important to me as facing young hitters.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, guys, very much.

End of FastScripts...

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