Roger Clemens, everyone agreed, looked great on the mound during the WBC, too good to retire, and, you know, wouldn't he look nice wearing pinstripes this summer? So of course they made sure the certain Hall of Famer knows how much he's wanted back.
Although the Yankees are one of four teams Clemens, 43, is considering, he always mentions retirement as a viable option, a course nobody who knows him expects him to follow.
"Presently, Roger does not plan to play in April or May," his agent, Randy Hendricks, said in an e-mail yesterday. "We will review things in mid-May."
The Yankees -- for whom Clemens pitched from 1999-2003 -- realize it's likely that he will choose the Astros over the Yanks, the Rangers and the Red Sox, but until he does so, they might as well keep hoping. Knowing that a decision isn't coming for a while, they are in a wait-and-see mode, saying there's no reason to reach out because he knows of their interest.
Although the Astros can offer the seven-time Cy Young Award winner the attractive opportunity to play close to home with the benefit of missing some road trips, the Yankees hope the competitor in him ultimately decides that he wants to win another World Series ring.
Although the Astros reached the 2005 World Series, the Yankees believe they're in the best position to offer that. "He's in a pretty good situation," Damon said, "because he knows how desperate
teams are to get him."