Touch 'Em All: Clemens to make pitching comeback

Posted: August 22, 2012

Roger Clemens has signed with the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League and is expected to start for them on Saturday at home against Bridgeport (Conn.).

The 50-year-old righthander was acquitted in June of charges he lied to Congress when he denied using performance-enhancing drugs.

Clemens' agent Randy Hendricks said the pitcher's "fastball was clocked at 87 m.p.h. and four pitches were working, so everyone believes he can do it."

Clemens hasn't played for a team since pitching for the New York Yankees in 2007. A winner of 354 games in 24 seasons, he is to appear on the Hall of Fame ballot going to voters in November, but if he appeared in a major-league game, his Hall consideration would be pushed back five years.

Clemens will be appearing on the ballot for the first time, alongside fellow greats Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, four of the most prominent players to excel during baseball's steroids era.

Woman in the booth

Softball legend Michele Smith made history on Sunday when she sat beside play-by-play man Ernie Johnson and analyst John Smoltz in the TBS booth for the Dodgers-Braves game. It was the first time a woman served in the commentary role for a national MLB broadcast. Smith won Olympic gold medals in 1996 and 2000 and is a member of the Softball Hall Of Fame.

Busts in Boston

Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford will have season-ending Tommy John surgery on his left elbow. Crawford has been playing with pain since coming off the disabled list last month. He was a major disappointment last season, his first with Boston after signing a $142-million, seven-year contract and missed the first 89 games this season while recovering from left wrist surgery.

The Sox also announced they have fired Bob McClure as pitching coach and named Randy Niemann to the fill the role for the rest of the season. The team ranks 11th of 14 teams in the American League in earned-run average at 4.30.

McClure, 60, was named Boston's pitching coach in December 2011 after six seasons in that role for the Royals.

Niemann, 56, has served as Boston's assistant pitching coach in 2012, his first season in the Red Sox organization.

The longest day

The Pirates and Cardinals like playing ball so much, they spent 6 hours, 7 minutes doing it Sunday. After each team scored a run in the 17th, Pedro Alvarez cracked a go-ahead home run against Barret Browning in the 19th, and Andrew McCutchen added a two-run single for the final margin in a 6-3 victory. Some tidbits from the longest game of the season so far:

The teams combined to use five pitchers in their respecting starting rotations.

Matt Holliday and David Freese combined to go 0 for 15.

Carlos Beltran had three stolen bases from the 14th inning on.

   - Inquirer wire reports

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