Clemens confident as he chases role in Phils' bullpen

Hard-throwing righty non-roster camp invitee

Clemens confident as he chases role in Phils' bullpen

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Paul Clemens is not afraid to say he has a great arm and two "hellacious" pitches.

But he will need to pitch well this spring to make the Phillies' seven-man bullpen, which has three openings behind Jonathan Papelbon, Ken Giles, Jake Diekman and Justin De Fratus. Clemens, who signed in the offseason as a non-roster Invitee, will need to improve upon the 5.51 ERA he posted in 48 appearances the past two seasons with Houston.

It is not impossible for Clemens, who pitched two perfect innings in Saturday's 6-2 exhibition loss to the University of Tampa, to make the team. Jeff Manship made the Opening Day roster last season as a non-roster invitee and Manship does not throw nearly as hard as Clemens, who hit 96 mph on the radar gun in the first inning.

"Some pitching coaches tell me how incredible my arm is and that I could play for a long time, so I think I've been showing some guys what I bring to the table," Clemens said. "I had a couple really good conversations with front office and some guys around here, so it's definitely motivating.

"I feel like I've got two pretty hellacious pitches -- my fastball and my curveball. I feel like I could do a multitude of things in this game."

So where has Clemens fallen short?

"Command in both of [my pitches] all the time," he said. "You don't get away with much and I feel like if you go watch video of me, you go see some of the better hitters in the game, I've punched tickets on three straight pitches. I've proven to the guys who need to be proven to what I can do.

"Sometimes I think I get too overzealous with my fastball and I just pound it and pound it and pound it. So picking my spots more, being smarter. You can't really challenge guys at this level. Once in a while you've got to pick your spots, but you can't challenge too many guys, even the guys you don't really know their names as much. You've still got to pitch."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.