Clemens on his Hall of Fame snub

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Clemens on his Hall of Fame snub

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.

Robinson Cano, Guillermo Heredia homer in Mariners' 5-0 win over Red Sox

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Robinson Cano, Guillermo Heredia homer in Mariners' 5-0 win over Red Sox

BOSTON (AP)  Christian Bergman rebounded from a miserable start with seven shutout innings and the Seattle Mariners halted Boston's season-high six-game winning streak with a 5-0 victory over the Red Sox on Sunday.

Robinson Cano hit a two-run homer and Guillermo Heredia a solo shot for the Mariners, who averted a three-game sweep with just their second win in nine games. Seattle was shut out the first two games.

Bergman (2-2) allowed four hits, walked two and struck out two. He got a lot of help from his infielders when they turned a double play in each of the first four innings.

Three relievers completed the combined five-hitter, with closer Edwin Diaz getting the final three outs despite two errors by infielders.

Bergman was tagged for 14 hits and 10 runs over four innings in a loss his previous start.

Rick Porcello (3-6) gave up 11 hits, but only two runs in 6 1/3 innings.

Seattle finished one off its club record for most double plays turned in a game.

After being shut out for the first 21 innings of the series, the Mariners moved ahead 1-0 in the fourth when Kyle Seager raced home from third after Porcello bounced a pitch that went over catcher Sandy Leon's right shoulder and onto the screen. Seager had doubled leading off and advanced on Danny Valencia's single.

Heredia homered over the Green Monster in the eighth and Cano sent his into the center-field bleachers an inning later.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mariners: RHP Hisashi Iwakuma, on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation, had another bullpen session Sunday because he wasn't happy with one a day earlier.

Red Sox: Manager John Farrell said 3B Pablo Sandoval, out since late April with a sprained right knee, will stay on his rehab assignment at Triple-A Pawtucket to get his "timing going" with more at-bats.

ROSTER MOVES

Seattle sent Saturday's losing pitcher, RHP Rob Whalen, to Triple-A Tacoma and brought up RHP Ryne Harper from the same club.

The Red Sox also made moves with pitchers, sending Saturday's winner, lefty Brian Johnson, to Triple-A Pawtucket and promoting RHP Blaine Boyer for a day. Boyer will go back down Monday when ace David Price is activated.

Boyer made his Red Sox debut, retiring the only two batters he faced.

UP NEXT

Mariners: RHP Sam Gaviglio (0-1, 1.38 ERA) is set to make his third major-league start when they open a two-game series Monday at Colorado. RHP Tyler Chatwood (4-6, 4.50) is scheduled for the Rockies.

Red Sox: LHP Price makes his season debut Monday in Chicago against the White Sox after being sidelined since early spring training with a strained left elbow.

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Brian Johnson admits he almost retired one year ago due to anxiety

Brian Johnson admits he almost retired one year ago due to anxiety

Brian Johnson almost called it a career at age 25 -- just one year before he went on to throw a complete game shutout at Fenway Park.

He finished Saturday's 6-0 win over the Mariners with eight strikeouts and five hits allowed. To get on the mound at Fenway, he had to overcome a serious bout with anxiety and depression. Things came to a head roughly a year ago.

"At that point in time, I was ready to hang 'em up," Johnson told Mike Giardi and Rob Bradford on WEEI radio Sunday. "I wasn't happy, wasn't sleeping through the night, woke up in cold sweats. I just wasn't happy."

But when things got most challenging, Johnson asked for help, which made all the difference, he explained. He broke down on the phone with his father, and discussed all of the issues he'd been struggling with. Then he spoke on the phone with Red Sox mental skills coach Laz Gutierrez, who helped him game plan to fight against his anxiety and depression. Baseball was one of Johnson's problems, and he was considering cutting it out of his life.

"Yes, there were thoughts in my head where I was like, 'What else would I do with my life?'" Johnson said. "I don't think it was baseball. I mean, yes, I would be lying if I didn't say it was that. I think it was a lot of things. Where I was at in my life, I was only a baseball player, and people only saw me as a baseball player. I was just letting everything build up. I think it stemmed all from when I hurt my elbow. I didn't have any feeling in my hand."

He began to worry about whether the feeling in his hand would disappear during his starts. He'd knock his funny bone and the feeling would be gone. That was only one manifestation of his anxieties.

"I just felt like there microscope on me 24/7," he said, "and that's kind of what let's your mind play tricks on you.'

He added: "If I didn't say anything, I don't think there's any chance I'd be here playing baseball. And it is taboo. I always thought -- the reason it took me so long was because, if I say something, they're never going to trust me again. 'How is he able to perform if he's having anxiety and depression problems.' . . . And lo and behold, I think I have more trust now that I said something."

Johnson just kept getting back on the field by throwing one inning at a time until he started having fun again. Fast forward to Sunday, Johnson has two starts for the Sox for a 2.57 ERA with a 1.07 WHIP and 14 strikeouts in 14 innings. He has also posted a 2.82 ERA in seven starts and 44.2 innings pitched in the minors.

But some unfortunate news followed his moment of triumph against the Mariners on Saturday. Johnson is heading back down to Pawtucket. The Sox optioned him with David Price rejoining the rotation.

"I would have loved to stay," Johnson said. "But I'm happy to do what they want me to . . . It stinks I'm getting sent down and optioned. But like I told John (Farrell) and like I told Dave (Dombrowski), 'I'm just going to keep working hard. Whenever you guys need me, I'm ready.'

Johnson said he wasn't riding a high of confidence after his excellent outing. He's keeping a level-head, and approaching the game the same way he did before his complete game. But he did admit he had a particularly special moment Saturday. After the game, his dad congratulated Johnson with a hug on the field at Fenway.

Johnson said: "That was the moment I was probably most grateful for everything."