Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Clemens 'not going to lose sleep' over Hall of Fame snub

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KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Roger Clemens said little publicly in the immediate aftermath of the Hall of Fame vote.

Over a month later, he's willing to share his thoughts -- but the 354-game winner is not about to start a lobbying campaign.

"I'm not going to lose any sleep over it," Clemens said. "If those guys feel I deserve to be there, then I deserve to be there. If they feel I don't, then that's OK too."

Clemens was at spring training Monday as a special instructor for the Houston Astros, and he spoke for a bit with the team's pitchers about his mental approach to the game. Later, he watched some of the Astros throw live batting practice.

The 50-year-old Clemens seemed relaxed after a turbulent year. Clemens was acquitted in 2012 on charges he obstructed and lied to Congress in denying he used performance-enhancing drugs to extend his career. Last month, Clemens fell short of the necessary votes to make the Hall of Fame. Superlative stats weren't enough to offset suspicions of PED use.

"I've had a great time when I've gone to Cooperstown," Clemens said. "I know a lot of people that work over there, too. If you're around my groups of people, and the same thing when I go to the cities I've played in, the people have been nothing but great down on the streets to me."

When Clemens met with reporters Monday, he began by handing out a written statement about the death of country star Mindy McCready, who made headlines in April 2008 when she claimed a longtime relationship with Clemens. Published reports at the time said she met the pitcher at a Florida karaoke bar when she was 15 and he was 28 and married. Clemens has denied the relationship.

Authorities said McCready died Sunday at her home in Heber Springs, Ark., of an apparent suicide.

"Yes, that is sad news," Clemens' statement said. "I had heard over time that she was trying to get peace and direction in her life. The few times that I had met her and her manager/agent they were extremely nice."

The Astros are moving to the American League this year after losing 213 games in two seasons. Clemens said if he were a player, he'd be excited because of all the job openings available on the roster.

He met with pitchers for about a half-hour before Monday's workout.

"I tried to fire them up and tell them that we're not just a newcomer to the league," Clemens said. "Hopefully we got the attention of a few of them."

New manager Bo Porter was happy to have Clemens around.

"He had a good powwow with all the pitchers and catchers this morning," Porter said. "Like I told those guys, when you're able to receive that type of tutelage and advice from someone who's been through the battles, understands what it takes, he's done it at a high level, it's an asset."

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 19, 2013 C6

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