YORK, Pa. -- Roger Clemens praised the Atlantic League Tuesday for providing players with a path to the major leagues. He just doesn't anticipate taking that path himself in 2012.
"I don't see it happening," Clemens said before throwing a 47-pitch side session to his son Koby at Sovereign Bank Stadium. "Everybody's speculating. Everybody's got their own opinions and that's great . . . I don't have that [desire]. Two days ago, I was throwing batting practice to college kids at my house. I'm nowhere close to being able to pitch in a major league game."
Clemens, whose final pitch Tuesday registered 84 mph, will start for the Sugar Land Skeeters on Friday against the Ducks in Texas.
So far, he's been impressed with his new league.
"I think it gives a great opportunity to a lot of these guys to get back to the major league level," Clemens said. "Just to see how far ahead they're looking and their desire. They're serious about the game."
Clemens, who tossed 31/3 scoreless innings for the Skeeters on Aug. 26, said he doesn't want to coach but enjoys teaching. He said he mentors at least 25 major league players who frequently call and text for advice.
He added that his comeback is about giving back to the game, and not about pushing back his eligibility on the Hall of Fame ballot. "If I was going to do that, I'd pitch this year in the majors and five years later, I'd pitch at 55, then at 60," Clemens said. "Come on. I'm not concerned about that. If I felt I could pitch in the major leagues and help somebody, I would do it. Right now, I'm nowhere close."
Reports persist that Clemens isn't done. Clemens said he's "winging it" and doesn't know what his future holds beyond Friday. But at least one Atlantic League higher-up thinks Clemens truly isn't seeking a September call-up.
"I take him at his word when he said definitely not this year," York president and general manager Eric Menzer said. "I take him at his word when he says his numbers are his numbers, but that doesn't define who he is. I think that's a great attitude. And he's out here having fun throwing to his son."