Roger Clemens has joined the Sugar Land Skeeters in York, Pennsylvania, this week for the team’s series against the York Revolution and on Tuesday threw a bullpen session in preparation for his next scheduled start on Friday against the Long Island Ducks at Constellation Field.
While the seven-time Cy Young Award winner’s presence was the attraction for fans in York, his catcher for the session added to the anticipation of Friday’s start.
Koby Clemens, Roger’s oldest son and a pro player himself, caught his father as the 50-year-old righthander threw before the Skeeters’ scheduled Atlantic League game against the Revolution at Sovereign Bank Stadium.
The younger Clemens’ season in Class AA New Hampshire (in the Toronto Blue Jays’ organization) has ended and, according to various published reports, has been granted his release by the team, which frees him to sign with the independent league Skeeters.
As reported last week by quadrust.com, speculation at the time of Clemens’ announcement of his second start for Sugar Land was that Koby would accompany him to Constellation Field as part of the event.
Following his first appearance for the Skeeters, Roger Clemens hinted that, if or when he would start again for Sugar Land, he might have an additional surprise for that appearance.
At that time, sources familiar with the situation indicated to quadrust.com that the surprise involved Clemens pitching to his son.
Koby Clemens hit .246 with eight home runs and 24 RBI between Dunedin (A) and New Hampshire (AA). He was originally drafted by the Astros in 2005.
From the Skeeters’ perspective, a move regarding the younger Clemens may not be for just the start by his father, especially if Koby is willing to catch for the team over the final 16 games of the season.
Sugar Land is basically down to a single healthy catcher on the current roster, as all-star Octavio Martinez has been sidelined on the current road trip with a leg injury. Manny Mejia has assumed a majority of the catching responsibilities while infielder/outfielder Matt Hagen has also started a couple of games on the trip.
Koby Clemens could add depth to the team at the catching position.
Koby might also be able to find new life for his career by staying with the Skeeters beyond this season. Scott Kazmir, Jason Lane and Tim Redding–all players with previous ties to the Houston area–have found some success with the expansion team this season.
The younger Clemens has shuttled from position to position throughout his minor league career and may benefit from finding an organization that could allow him to play and grow at a single defensive position.
He was also a star pitcher during his high school career at Memorial High School and, although he has made only one professional appearance on the mound (in 2006), could potentially follow in Lane’s footsteps should he choose to try his hand again on the mound.
The latter is pure speculation, but the likelihood that Koby will join Roger for at least one game in a Skeeters uniform moved one step closer to reality on Tuesday.