Astros: Clemens not a done deal

Astros: Clemens not a done deal

A report of a Rocket re-entry in Houston on Tuesday was news to the Astros.

A Newsday report claiming seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens had signed a one-year deal with the Astros was shot down by Astros general manager Tim Purpura as well as Astros owner Drayton McLane Jr. Clemens was not available for comment.

"Absolutely not true," Purpura said when asked to confirm the report that Clemens, 43, had signed a one-year deal with Houston. "There's nothing to it at this point. We had some discussions with his agents (Randy and Alan Hendricks) over the weekend but we're waiting for Roger to make a decision."

Newsday reported the contract is believed to be worth about $3.5 million per month or approximately $10.5 million for the season, depending on when Clemens returns to action.

"I can assure you a deal has not been done," McLane said. "The Hendricks have said to us all the way through that 'the first decision is Roger has to tell them, and he'll tell us if he wants to come back.' They said that as late as last week. They have not gotten back to us. We're waiting on them."

In Arlington, Rangers owner Tom Hicks said he'd been told by Randy Hendricks that Clemens will not be signing with his team.

"We gave it our best shot," Hicks said. "I got a call from Randy Hendricks on Friday and he'd been asked by Roger to convey his thanks but he would not be pitching for the Rangers.

"I'm not sure where he's going. I was told we were not the only team that was getting that call. I was told the family played a large issue so I assume he'll be pitching for Houston."

Clemens, who turns 44 in August, helped the Astros reach the World Series last fall following a season in which the right-hander led the Major Leagues with a 1.87 ERA. The Astros declined to offer him salary arbirtation last winter, forefeiting the right to re-sign him until May 1.

Since then Clemens, who lives in Houston, has indicated if he does return it would be for one of four teams: the Astros, Rangers, Red Sox or Yankees.

The Astros hope to lure Clemens back and are optimistic they will convince him to return for another season. Purpura said no timetable has been given but that he expects an answer soon.

"He knows we'd love to have him back, and I think our chances are as good as any if he does decide to play another year," Purpura said. "I think we'll know something soon one way or another."

McLane was in Temple, Texas and was also surprised at the report.

"I've been confident since January," McLane said. "We waited on them and they said they would get back to us. I talked to Tim about an hour and a half ago. We're very very optimtistic, but we knew that we have to wait to hear back from them. That has not happened yet."

The Astros players watched the television coverage regarding the Clemens rumors prior to Tuesday's game, and a few spoke about the matter after their win over the Cardinals.

Andy Pettitte, Clemens' closest friend on the club, indicated he knows what Clemens has decided to do, but declined to delve further into the matter.

"Before, I had no clue what was going on," Pettitte said. "I've been talking with Roger and I'll leave it up to him to let him share whatever he's going to share whenever it's time to share it. Before, when you all asked me, I didn't know anything. I do know now, but it's not my place to say anything about that, really."

Jim Molony is a reporter for reporters Alyson Footer and T.R. Sullivan contributed. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.