Sugar Land, TX – Seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens made his return to the mound Saturday night and pitched 3 1/3 innings for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the Atlantic League.
The 50-year-old Clemens pitched competitively for the first time since 2007 when he threw for the New York Yankees, presumably the last of his 24 major league seasons.
"My success tonight doesn't make me think about returning to the majors now," he said.
The 11-time All-Star retired 10 of the 11 batters he faced and tossed 24 of his 37 pitches for strikes in the contest against the Bridgeport Bluefish. He topped out at 88 mph.
"Nothing was normal about this start," Clemens said. "My main goal was not to embarrass myself or the ballclub."
Clemens had a pair of strikeouts without allowing a walk. The only hit he surrendered was a clean single to the outfield from James Simmons in the second inning.
Clemens struck out former major leaguer Joey Gathright to start the game. The right-hander retired the side in order in that frame, also striking out Prentice Redman.
Simmons singled with two outs in the top of the second, but Clemens had a 1-2-3 third inning with a pair of flyouts and a groundout.
After retiring Luis Figueroa on a fly ball to left field, Skeeters manager Gary Gaetti, who had a 20-year major league playing career, removed Clemens from the game. Clemens received a standing ovation and waved to the crowd before exiting to the dugout.
Clemens was asked what's next in his possible comeback road.
"A lot of ice in the next three days," he said.
Clemens said he was definitely open to pitching for Sugar Land again.
"It was worth putting a smile on the face of the fans," he said.
Clemens was acquitted of all six charges brought by the government two months ago in its second go-round charging the former pitcher with lying to Congress about taking performance-enhancing drugs.
A 12-person jury found Clemens not guilty on two counts of perjury, three counts of making false statements and one count of obstruction of Congress.
The 354-game winner will be on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time in December unless he pitches again in the majors this year.
The Skeeters, of the Atlantic League, are not affiliated with Major League Baseball. They already feature a pitching staff with former major leaguers Scott Kazmir, Tim Redding and Jason Lane.