Clemens set to debut Saturday


The uniforms with No. 22 were hanging in the locker, between the stalls of Jason Giambi and Wil Nieves.

A box stamped "Louisville Slugger" and "ash bats" was leaning inside. On a navy sofa a few feet away, the front page of Yankees Magazine already had Roger Clemens on the cover.

Everything was set for the Rocket to make his 2007 major league debut for the New York Yankees Saturday against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

When Clemens initially announced his retirement four years ago, the Yankees gave him an expensive rust-colored Hummer. Turned out it wasn't a goodbye to baseball or even to New York.

"Just a little memento to put in your living room," Yankees manager Joe Torre said jokingly Friday. "Knowing the size of his house, it probably would fit in the living room."

Clemens, who spent the last three seasons with his hometown Houston Astros, was nowhere to be seen at Yankee Stadium on Friday. With the Yankees 101/2 games back of AL East-leading Boston to start the night, they were counting on the seven-time Cy Young Award winner to provide a boost to a team that has struggled like a beat-up car this year.

"It doesn't make a difference if Roger Clemens is on the team or if you bring Babe Ruth back and put him on the team. We have to go out there and play," Yankees captain Derek Jeter said. "Like I said, when we first signed Rocket, you can't sit around and wait for him to come. It's not like he's going to have some magic over us when he gets here. You want him to give us the opportunity to win on the days he pitches."

Clemens agreed May 6 to a one-year contract worth $28,000,022 &

the last two digits matching his uniform number &

dramatically announcing his return from owner George Steinbrenner's box during the seventh-inning stretch of a game against Seattle. He starts earning his salary Saturday and will get $17,442,637 this season &

but he also will cost the Yankees $6,977,054 in luxury tax, making the total $24,419,691.

Torre expects Clemens will throw five or six innings and said the Yankees will start to think about removing the 44-year-old right-hander when he reaches 90 pitches.

Clemens is 5-1 against the Pirates, including 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA last season.

"He's going to be sky high. He's a very emotional guy. Hopefully it doesn't affect his command, but he's certainly going to be a presence for us tomorrow," Torre said. "He's going to be over the top. That's what he's all about."

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