Clemens officially files for free agency

Clemens officially files for free agency

NEW YORK -- Roger Clemens officially filed for free agency on Friday, leaving open the possibility that he could return next season but doing little to alter the chance that he actually will.

Clemens has yet to declare publicly whether or not he will return to the Yankees -- or any other team -- in 2008, though filing for free agency keeps all of his options intact. Clemens finished 6-6 with a 4.18 ERA in 2007, his first season with the Yankees since 2003, though a hamstring injury forced him to miss the last two weeks of the regular season and limited him to just 2 1/3 innings in his lone postseason start.

"I've been doing everything I could possibly do to get it right and to help the guys, but I'm not going to dwell on it," Clemens said after that final outing. "I've had issues way before this start happened, and I pitched right through them. For me, it's part of it."

That wasn't the first time Clemens had pitched his so-called last game. In 2003 the right-hander officially announced his retirement, only to change his mind and sign a one-year deal with his hometown Astros. Clemens again seemed to retire -- though not formally -- after each of the next two seasons, but re-signed with Houston each time.

He then returned to the Yankees in May of this season, signing a prorated deal worth $28 million.

This winter there's even more indication that Clemens may be retired for good. His health remains in question after issues with his left hamstring, left foot and right elbow caused him to miss significant time during the regular season. And the Astros, with whom Clemens signed a personal services contract in 2004, said this week that they're operating under the assumption he's retired. The contract, which allows Clemens to work as an organization mentor, is not legally activated until he retires. For good.

"We are going to proceed as if he is retired, in terms of the Astros contract," his agent, Randy Hendricks, said on Wednesday. "He has already done work for the Astros in the past. I don't foresee a problem."

Clemens also said through Hendricks that he would be interested in playing in the 2008 Olympics if healthy -- which he wouldn't be allowed to do as a Major Leaguer.

"I think, if things fell into place and he felt good, he would be interested," Hendricks said. "He loves the idea of representing his country."

Clemens finished this season with 354 career wins, good for eighth on the all-time list. He will turn 46 next August.

Anthony DiComo is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.