From Comcast SportsNetKISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) -- Roger Clemens said little publicly in the immediate aftermath of the Hall of Fame vote.Over a month later, he's willing to share his thoughts -- but the 354-game winner is not about to start a lobbying campaign."I'm not going to lose any sleep over it," Clemens said. "If those guys feel I deserve to be there, then I deserve to be there. If they feel I don't, then that's OK too."Clemens was at spring training Monday as a special instructor for the Houston Astros, and he spoke for a bit with the team's pitchers about his mental approach to the game. Later, he watched some of the Astros throw live batting practice.The 50-year-old Clemens seemed relaxed after a turbulent year. Clemens was acquitted in 2012 on charges he obstructed and lied to Congress in denying he used performance-enhancing drugs to extend his career. Last month, Clemens fell short of the necessary votes to make the Hall of Fame. Superlative stats weren't enough to offset suspicions of PED use."I've had a great time when I've gone to Cooperstown," Clemens said. "I know a lot of people that work over there, too. If you're around my groups of people, and the same thing when I go to the cities I've played in, the people have been nothing but great down on the streets to me."When Clemens met with reporters Monday, he began by handing out a written statement about the death of country star Mindy McCready, who made headlines in April 2008 when she claimed a longtime relationship with Clemens. Published reports at the time said she met the pitcher at a Florida karaoke bar when she was 15 and he was 28 and married. Clemens has denied the relationship.Authorities said McCready died Sunday at her home in Heber Springs, Ark., of an apparent suicide."Yes, that is sad news," Clemens' statement said. "I had heard over time that she was trying to get peace and direction in her life. The few times that I had met her and her manageragent they were extremely nice."The Astros are moving to the American League this year after losing 213 games in two seasons. Clemens said if he were a player, he'd be excited because of all the job openings available on the roster.He met with pitchers for about a half-hour before Monday's workout."I tried to fire them up and tell them that we're not just a newcomer to the league," Clemens said. "Hopefully we got the attention of a few of them."New manager Bo Porter was happy to have Clemens around."He had a good powwow with all the pitchers and catchers this morning," Porter said. "Like I told those guys, when you're able to receive that type of tutelage and advice from someone who's been through the battles, understands what it takes, he's done it at a high level, it's an asset."Left-hander Dallas Keuchel, who made 16 starts for the Astros as a rookie last year, is among many Houston pitchers still trying to prove himself. He said he'd met Clemens before -- he played in the minor leagues with Clemens' son.When Clemens showed up at camp, Keuchel was ready to listen."A 350-game winner? I'm all ears," Keuchel said. "He talked about knowing your own game and what you're capable of doing in the game, and you don't need a pitching coach to come out. You're a big leaguer for a reason. You're there because you can throw the ball where you want to, and just because you make a bad pitch doesn't mean you can't make an adjustment the next pitch."Clemens says spring training has changed a lot since he was beginning his big league career. Players now arrive a bit more ready to push themselves."I watched some of the guys turning the ball loose yesterday, and I worry that they're coming out of the gate to impress people pretty hard, and you can get tendinitis pretty easy," Clemens said. "But I know I did that when I was 21."Another difference Clemens noticed? It seems like fewer players are smokers now.That led to a brief discussion between Clemens and reporters about fitness and nutrition in baseball -- and a comment from Clemens that at least tangentially referenced the sport's drug testing program."You guys can go to GNC and take stuff, and we can't -- to keep your health or muscle, or whatever you want to do. You've just got to be careful with it, because they can change the ingredients in it. You have to be aware of it," Clemens said. "I know you guys write about it, but there's a scroll from here to the field over there of names you can't even spell, that we can't -- you've just got to be careful."NOTES:Porter said RHP Bud Norris will be away from camp for a bit following the death of his grandmother. He's expected to leave Tuesday and be back Thursday. Norris is slated to pitch Sunday against the New York Mets.
When trying to figure out what the Patriots will ultimately do with Jimmy Garoppolo, forget about the speculation and instead focus on the little things the team does.
Like how they are tending to Jacoby Brissett.
After having thumb surgery on Oct. 7, Brissett was put on IR. But the team used its one "Get off of IR free card" on Brissett and he's been practicing with the team for the past couple of weeks while not taking up a roster spot.
That alone isn't compelling evidence that he's the backup-in-waiting and Garoppolo's about to be packed up and shipped out, argued my compadre, Senator Phil Perry. The team had no other players on IR that they could use the designation on at the time. Why not use it on Brissett?
Prior to that, though, we've seen Brissett accompanying the team to away games including the cross-country junket to San Francisco. A reason? Since the Patriots played three straight at Gillette at the start of the season when Brissett was the direct backup to Garoppolo, he didn't get a good look at the road operation and the tempo of being the visiting team. How things work on flights, in meetings, at opposing stadiums and on the sidelines is worth getting a promising young players' eyes on. Also, getting his offensive teammates used to having him around is probably an even bigger benefit. It's not unprecedented to have IR players travel but its not conventional practice either.
With so many quarterback-needy teams around the league, Garoppolo is perhaps the most attractive option out there. By the end of this year, he will have apprenticed three seasons behind the best quarterback of all-time in a sophisticated offense for a program that's as demanding as any in the league. In the 10 quarters he was able to play as a starter in place of Tom Brady, he was sensational.
He got hurt and that's not great. But any team making a deal for him that has concerns about his durability can take him for a spin for one season. Garoppolo is on the books for $825K in 2017 and then his contract is up. The team that dealt for him can franchise him if they need another season to think on it.
I don't think the Patriots are itching to move Garoppolo. They know they are sitting comfortably with a stack of the most valuable commodity in the sport -- good quarterbacks (or at least one great one and two promising ones) - piled in front of them. They can let the game come to them.
If it does, as former Patriots executive and Bill Belichick consigliere Mike Lombardi thinks it will, the Patriots can rest easy dealing Garoppolo knowing that they already did advance work getting Brissett up to speed.