BOSTON It will be 16 years ago Friday that Rogers Clemens pitched his last game in a Red Sox uniform. A 4-2 loss to the Yankees at Fenway Park. He went 7 23 innings, with 10 strikeouts.He went on to pitch 11 more seasons before calling it quits in 2007.Well, quits so far, maybe that should be. Clemens, who turned 50 on Aug. 4, pitched for the independent Sugar Land Skeeters this season, contemplating a major league comeback.He has said recently, though, that such a comeback is unlikely. When he was asked that question Wednesday night at Fenway, though, he added another layer of ambiguity.Well, I had a lot of ice last time I pitched, he said. I dont know. It seems to get worse and worse each time. So, we were just having fun with it.Clemens was back at Fenway as part of the All-Fenway Team honored before Wednesdays game against the Rays to recognize the 40 best Sox players in the 100-year history of Fenway.I felt young around some of the guys and I felt old around the others, he said. "It was a great night. Everybody was pretty excited about it.Clemens made his big league debut May 15, 1984, in Cleveland. He didnt get his first win at Fenway until June 12 that season, against the Yankees. He went on to record 192 wins, tied with Cy Young for most in Red Sox history.All 13 years here were wonderful just for the fact that when I drove into the ballpark from Framingham people were coming from all over New England and they cared, Clemens said. Thats what I was excited about. they cared and they showed up to watch you work.Clemens has been an infrequent visitor to Fenway over the last few years, but hes been around over the last few days. He took part in the tribute to Johnny Pesky after Sundays game and was back for Tuesdays game against the Rays. For the most part, he was given a warm welcome unlike the times he returned as a visiting pitcher.I cant control the smattering of other things, but every time Ive been in this town theyve been nothing but great and thankful for the effort I gave when I was here, he said. I know how I went about my work here and we came close so many times. We made a lot of great memories. I had 13 wonderful years here.He believes the Sox can rebound from their lost 2012 season.This is an organization that youll get back on top pretty quick if you get the right players with the right attitude that mentally can stay on course, he said.
The Boston Red Sox put up six runs in the first inning and coasted to a 9-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.
Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. led the way for the Red Sox with four and three RBI respectfully. Both outfielders had two-run home runs in the Sox’ big first inning.
Knuckleballer Steven Wright gave up one earned run in four innings, his ERA for the spring is now 0.68.
The Red Sox are back in action again on Wednesday at 1:05 p.m when Rick Porcello makes his final spring training start against the Minnesota Twins.
Infielder Marco Hernandez may make the Red Sox roster after all.
Fellow infielder Josh Rutledge, the presumptive 25th man on the Red Sox, suffered a left hamstring strain on Tuesday against the Pirates, according to reporters in Florida, including Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald.
If Rutledge isn’t ready for opening day, Hernandez, a left-handed hitter, may have his crack.
The question is whether the Sox would be comfortable without a right-handed bat to complement both Pablo Sandoval and Mitch Moreland on the corners. Rutledge was going to give the Sox that right-handed look they sought. (When Hanley Ramirez's shoulder will be healthy enough to play first base is unclear, but isn't expected to be too long.)
Neither Rutledge nor Hernandez has played first base in the majors or minors.
A big-league rookie last year, Hernandez has done decently against lefties at the upper levels of the minors, hitting .328 vs. them at Triple-A Pawtucket last season in 67 at-bats. He hit .315 in 54 at-bats at Pawtucket, with a .318 average against them that season in 88 at-bats for Double-A Portland.
Rutledge is a Rule 5 draft pick who has to remain on the major league 25-man roster the whole season or the Sox risk losing him. Placement on the disabled list doesn’t affect his status unless he’s on the disabled list for a very lengthy time.
An alternative option is Steve Selsky, who has first-base experience, but he's already been optioned.