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Pitching great Roger Clemens shuns retirement to join Astros

SHARE Pitching great Roger Clemens shuns retirement to join Astros

Roger Clemens is pushing back his retirement, agreeing to a one-year contract with the Houston Astros, a baseball source told The Associated Press on Monday.

The six-time Cy Young Award winner, one of baseball's greatest pitchers, had said for more than a year that he planned to quit after pitching last season for the New York Yankees.

But he was persuaded to join the Astros, his hometown team, after close friend and former Yankees teammate Andy Pettitte — who also lives in the Houston area — signed with the club last month.

The Astros called a news conference for Monday. Clemens agreed to a contract Sunday, the source said on condition of anonymity.

Clemens, 41, was 17-9 with a 3.91 ERA last season, his fifth with the Yankees. He spent his first 13 seasons in Boston, then went to Toronto for two years before moving on to New York, where he won World Series titles in 1999 and 2000.

His 310-160 record puts him 17th on the career wins list, and his 4,099 strikeouts place him third behind Nolan Ryan (5,714) and Steve Carlton (4,136). His six Cy Young awards is a record.

Clemens' last appearance for the Yankees was a memorable one, in Game 4 of the World Series against the Florida Marlins.

Fifty friends and family members flew to Miami to watch the game; Clemens didn't get a decision as the Yankees lost to Florida 4-3 in 12 innings. Even the Marlins' players applauded after Clemens struck out Luis Castillo in what was thought to be his final major league pitch.

"So many people were using flash photography, it was quite amazing," Clemens said then. "I think everybody started understanding that it was going to be my last inning, my last hitter, my last pitch."

Clemens thought about pitching for the United States at the 2004 Olympics, but the Americans were eliminated in qualifying in November.

Clemens' outlook on retirement started to change Dec. 11, when left-hander Pettitte agreed to a $31.5 million, three-year contract with the Astros. The team has never been to a World Series.