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Clemens to throw today

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Roger Clemens will take to the mound today at Houston's spring training camp, facing minor league batters even though he's not part of the Astros.

The 43-year-old Clemens wants to pitch in the World Baseball Classic, then decide whether to retire or play a 23rd season, said Koby Clemens, his oldest son and a third baseman in the Astros' farm system.

Koby Clemens said his father was due to arrive in Florida on Sunday night and planned to pitch to minor leaguers in a simulated game Monday.

Clemens, a free agent, wasn't offered salary arbitration by the Astros and cannot re-sign with them until May 1. He could join another team before that, and Texas, Boston and the New York Yankees are reportedly interested.

Houston general manager Tim Purpura said the Astros got permission from Major League Baseball to allow the Rocket to pitch at their spring training complex.

Clemens led the major leagues with a 1.87 ERA last year but was plagued by back and hamstring problems late in the season.

Koby Clemens said his dad was ready to retire in December, but his family talked him out of it.

"We were all like, 'You should wait and allow yourself to rest your body,"' Koby said. "He was still kind of hurting, kind of tired. He was like, 'I don't want to do this again.'"

BONDS MAY PLAY FRIDAY: In Scottsdale, Ariz., Giants manager Felipe Alou says Barry Bonds could play his first spring training game in two years Friday against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Bonds took batting practice for a fifth straight day Sunday and took part in some fielding drills as he shows signs that he is healthier than he was last year after having three knee operations.

"He told me he feels very, very good," Alou said. "Bonds is having fun. Last year he didn't because he was hurt."

Alou said Bonds would likely play March 5 in an exhibition at Scottsdale Stadium against the U.S. team in the World Baseball Classic. The Giants will be allowed to use the designated hitter in that game.

WELLS' CLOT WORRISOME: In Bradenton, Fla., the Pittsburgh Pirates are worried that a blood clot close to starter Kip Wells' right arm could jeopardize his season.

General manager Dave Littlefield described the clot as a "100 percent blockage" of the axillary artery under the clavicle, the primary vessel that carries blood from the chest to the arms.

Wells, 28, told the team he still must determine if he wants to get a second opinion before having surgery, a decision he is expected to make within two days. If Wells has surgery, he would likely miss five to eight months of playing time.

"There's always a concern in regard to aneurysms, clots and things like that," Littlefield said. "But we moved on it very, very quickly."

The Pirates were expecting Wells to be one of the top two starters in their rotation. The right-hander is coming off a disappointing season — he was 8-18, the most losses in the majors, with a 5.08 earned run average.

GREINKE LEAVES CAMP: In Surprise, Ariz., Kansas City Royals right-hander Zack Greinke left camp for undisclosed personal reasons.

"He's gone home for personal matters," Royals manager Buddy Bell said. "That's all I can say about it. He's just got permission to go home and take care of a few things. I hate to be so vague, but hopefully this will be taken care of sooner, if not later."

JULIO THROWING: In Port St. Lucie, Fla., Mets reliever Jorge Julio threw from a mound during a practice cut short by rain.

Julio, signed from the Baltimore Orioles in the offseason, spent the first two weeks of spring training stuck in his native Venezuela, waiting for his visa to clear. Now that Julio has finally arrived, the Mets can begin to assess how he will fit into their bullpen.

Julio was up and down last season in Baltimore, where he lost the closer job to B.J. Ryan and went 3-5 with a 5.90 ERA in 67 appearances.

"This is my first time getting a chance to see him on my team," Mets manager Willie Randolph said. "That other stuff from other clubs, that's what he ran into there."

HIDALGO SIGNED: In Fort Lauderdale, Fla., the Baltimore Orioles signed veteran free agent outfielder Richard Hidalgo to a minor league contract.

Hidalgo, 30, who is expected to report to the Orioles spring training facility Monday, batted .221 with 16 home runs and 43 RBIs in 88 games for Texas last season.

If he makes the 25-man roster, Hidalgo will earn a base salary of $1 million plus incentives.

Orioles All-Star Melvin Mora pulled out of the World Baseball Classic after being asked to play center field for Venezuela, rather than third base.

"I cannot go to that competition to try to play something I don't know how to play. I mean, I know how to play that, but it's a long time I don't play center field. I'm a third baseman. I cannot do that," Mora said.

JORDAN WORKING: In Kissimmee, Fla., Brian Jordan fielded ground balls at first base as he attempted to improve his chances of making the Atlanta Braves roster as a utility player.

"I just want to show them I can do it if they need me," he said. "It just gives Bobby more options."

Jordan, one month away from his 39th birthday, was invited to the Braves' camp as a non-roster player. He hit .247 with three homers and 24 RBIs last season, when he couldn't hold a starting job.

"He's bouncing around out there," manager Bobby Cox said. "He plays first base pretty good. He catches the ball really nice. I was pleasantly surprised."