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Clemens pitching in with Astros as special instructor

Clemens pitching in with Astros as special instructor play video for Clemens pitching in with Astros as special instructor

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Roger Clemens was back on the fields at Osceola County Stadium on a chilly morning, wearing an orange and blue batting practice cap, a new blue Astros jacket and a pair of blue jeans that had the team's daily schedule tucked in the back of the waist.

"Our colors have changed and the expectations have changed a little bit," Clemens told reporters before rolling up his sleeves and going to work.

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Sunday marked Clemens' first day on the field as a special instructor for the Astros, and his presence caused a stir from a few dozen fans who followed him around asking for autographs and snapping pictures.

He'll spend about four days in Kissimmee this week, and then he'll go back and forth between Florida and Houston two more times this spring. It was all a result of owner Jim Crane wanting the seven-time Cy Young Award winner to get more involved while he has a personal services contract with the club.

Clemens joined the coaches' meeting on Sunday morning and then hit the field after speaking with reporters for about 10 minutes.

"It was fun to listen in on the coaches' meeting," Clemens said. "A lot of great coaches are here to help these young kids kind of find their way, take the next step. Hopefully that's the case."

Clemens said his message to the players will be simple.

"Right now, you want to get great quality work in, not really quantity," he said. "I've always felt the ability to focus better than the next person is what's going to help them the most, and have those expectations they can win even though everybody thinks they can't."

Astros manager Bo Porter accompanied Clemens around three different fields to watch pitchers throw live batting practice. Clemens seemed to focus on newcomers, watching Brad Peacock throw on one field, and John Ely and Alex White on another. He offered some brief advice to several pitchers, as well as catcher Jason Castro.

"Obviously, when someone like Roger is talking, you're a sponge," Ely said.

Clemens signed autographs for about three dozen fans following the workout, casually interacting while posing for pictures. He appeared to be carefree and relaxed.

Porter said he plans to have Clemens address the pitchers as a whole on Monday.

"We had some guys that we wanted Roger to take a look at, and he was very helpful and talked to those guys about what he was seeing," Porter said. "It's a pleasure to have him around and to have someone with the success and magnitude of his career, it can only help us."

Porter has made a great first impression on Clemens.

"Bo has a lot of energy," Clemens said. "I like his detail. He pays attention to detail, and I like him talking about the running game a lot. For me, as a pitcher, I can just tell them … I don't know our personnel and the guys that can run, but I imagine we have some guys who can run and get it done."

Clemens is familiar with some of the Astros' pitchers, but there has been a large turnover in the pitching staff from last year. He said it will take him a while to get up to speed, especially considering the players don't have names on the back of their jerseys this year.

"I've seen most of them and have thrown batting practice to some of the everyday players that are here now and doing the same things I've always done," he said. "I visit with the guys by phone or text and watch them, and that's what it's all about."

When the season starts, Clemens will stay involved. He's a season-ticket holder, so he'll be around the ballpark often, and the Astros will lean on him heavily when deliberating which player to take with the No. 1 overall pick in this year's First-Year Player Draft.

"I've seen film on guys they're interested in, and it's always better to be able to eyeball them in person," Clemens said. "My deal is, I love rooting for the underdog. I've always been that way. I won 200 games with my stuff and my ability and [the rest] with my heart and getting it done.

"I'm excited. I'm a season-ticket holder, so I'm excited just like anybody else is for these guys to get out there."

Clemens was asked about the recent Hall of Fame vote, saying he wasn't concerned with not getting elected on his first time on the ballot this year. He said his stint with the independent Sugar Land Skeeters last fall was simply about getting to play with his son, Koby, and not about making a comeback, as many had speculated.

Still, Clemens said he might get on the mound this spring and throw live batting practice, which would help him stay in shape and perhaps help the batters.

"I really enjoy doing it," Clemens said. "I try and throw quality BP and it's fun for the guys. They seem to enjoy it. I can tell when a guy steps in at the plate, I can tell him what I see and how I'm going to go about breaking him down as a hitter."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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{"event":["spring_training" ] }
{"event":["spring_training" ] }