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Archive for Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Clemens headlines U.S. squad

Pitcher among 30 tapped for World Baseball Classic

February 15, 2006

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— Roger Clemens was among 30 players picked Tuesday for the U.S. roster for next month's inaugural World Baseball Classic.

The 43-year-old right-hander, who led the major leagues in earned-run average last year, still hasn't decided whether he will pitch in the major leagues this season. He made the decision to pitch for the United States after he spent time working out in the past month.

"I needed a couple of weeks to see where my body was going to be and get my mind right for this," Clemens said.

Clemens spent the last two seasons with his hometown Houston Astros, helping them reach the World Series for the first time last year. Under baseball's rules, he can't re-sign with Houston until May 1.

Boston, the New York Yankees and Texas also have expressed interest in signing the Rocket, and Clemens said he had met with several teams, without going into specifics.

"I had a number of teams come down once they heard I was getting ready for these world games," he said. "They positioned themselves and told me what they thought."

Clemens won't make a decision about the season until after he's done pitching in the tournament, which runs March 3-20.

"I'll see how that goes, how my body responds," he said. "I'll make my decisions accordingly, after the fact."

Clemens was among four starters selected for a 14-man U.S. pitching staff, joined by Jake Peavy, Dontrelle Willis and C.C. Sabathia. Changes to the roster can be made through March 2, five days before the U.S. opener. A 10-man bullpen was chosen partly because of pitch-count limits.

The rest of the roster:

Relievers: Chad Cordero, Brian Fuentes, Todd Jones, Brad Lidge, Joe Nathan, Scot Shields, Huston Street, Mike Timlin, Billy Wagner, Dan Wheeler.

Catchers: Mike Barrett, Brian Schneider, Jason Varitek.

Infielders: Derek Jeter, Chipper Jones, Derrek Lee, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Chase Utley, Michael Young.

Outfielders: Johnny Damon, Jeff Francouer, Ken Griffey Jr., Matt Holliday, Vernon Wells, Randy Winn.

Twenty-two players who were on the provisional 52-man roster were dropped. Among them were pitchers Jeremy Bonderman, Roy Halladay, Dan Haren, Tim Hudson, Brett Myers, Andy Pettitte, Ben Sheets, Al Leiter and Gary Majewski; catchers Paul Lo Duca, Joe Mauer and Chad Moeller; infielders Eric Chavez, Craig Counsell, Morgan Ensberg, Bill Hall, Jimmy Rollins and David Wright; and outfielders Lance Berkman, Barry Bonds, Carl Crawford and Luis Gonzalez.

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