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Clemens gets in his work, on and off the field

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    Clemens gets in his work, on and off the field

    Clemens gets in his work, on and off the field
    AP Baseball Writer
    March 5, 2000

    TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- The Houston Astros gave Roger Clemens quite a workout. Of course, that hardly compared to the session he gave himself.

    Clemens was in constant motion Sunday during his first start of the spring. Sweating, he moved from the mound to the stationary bike to other exercise equipment in the clubhouse, then went back out to pitch some more.

    All in a day's work for the New York Yankees star revered for his training regimen.

    ``He looks like he's always panting,'' marveled manager Joe Torre. ``He's got a lot of energy.''

    The Astros kept the Rocket on the run, too, scoring five times in 2 2-3 innings. He gave up six hits, including Daryle Ward's homer and three hard doubles, and walked two in a 6-2 loss.

    ``I don't think whether I throw shutout innings or give up runs it makes any difference,'' he said. ``I worked on typical spring training stuff.''

    Clemens also lost his exhibition opener last March to Kansas City, shortly after he was traded by Toronto.

    But he walked off the Yankee Stadium mound to a standing ovation last October as the winning pitcher when New York beat Atlanta to complete a World Series sweep. The championship was the only thing that had eluded him in a 16-year career.

    ``I'm still looking forward to the ring ceremony,'' he said.

    With 247 wins and a record five Cy Young Awards, he's already earned a future place in the Hall of Fame. But coming off a 14-10 season with a 4.60 ERA, he sees room for improvement.

    Which is why he keeps pushing himself so hard. And for now, that means workouts between innings of games he's pitching.

    ``Not too many pitchers are still power pitchers at 37 years old,'' Torre said. ``Nolan Ryan did it. It's so important to have strong legs.''

    But all-out, in-game training sessions? Anyone else do that?

    ``Not to my knowledge,'' Torre said. '' He won't do that during the season.''

    Clemens sees it as necessary preparation. He even seems to enjoy it, especially the results.

    ``I think I'm a little further along this year than I was last year and the year before,'' he said, his face flush from a postgame workout. ``I've been working on my stamina.''

    Mostly, it was a routine, early spring outing for Clemens. He pawed at the mound, frequently changed baseballs to get the right grip and often called out catcher Jorge Posada for conferences.

    ``He wanted to throw a lot of fastballs. We were just talking about how he wanted to do things.''

    Clemens used his entire repertoire, mixing in forkballs, changeups, curves and sliders, and threw about 65 pitches against a lineup missing Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio and Moises Alou.

    He also convinced Torre to let him continue after a four-run second inning. Ward homered to start the third and Clemens left after Tony Eusebio doubled.

    Clemens did not seem to mind that some hitters dug in and teed off. He's from Houston and knows a few Astros -- he ran into Bill Spiers, who hit a two-run double, at a local restaurant during the offseason and chatted.

    That comfort zone, however, will surely change as opening day approaches.

    ``Some batters took liberties,'' Clemens said. ``We will start moving some bodies around.''

    updated at Sun Mar 5 15:15:30 2000 PT


    We're going to see the Rocket in 2000, that we wanted to see in '99, and I believe he's going to deliver. I really like his attitude, he still wants it.....BIG year in 2000 from the Rocket.


    Thank's for the post bxny.

    I am glad that Roger feels like he is in better shape than the last two years at this point in spring training.

    If you don't like the YANKEES go to another sight.