From Germany to Texas
Got caught up in Ghana-USA fever here today, and thanks to Mad Dog for creating that MLBlog he’s been maintaining as a liveblog through the World Cup. Now it’s time to see what the Rocket looks like in season No. 23. One of the most interesting things today was seeing this press release from the club that reminds you that no matter how big you are, there is still a routine admin process and the transaction is handled just like any other move of a player to the parent club:
ASTROS PURCHASE CONTRACT OF CLEMENS
Seven-time Cy Young winner added to Astros roster; Sampson optioned to Round Rock
HOUSTON, TX — The Houston Astros announced today that the club has purchased the contract of right-handed pitcher Roger Clemens from Triple A Round Rock, adding the seven-time Cy Young Award winner to the 40-man roster. Clemens will start tonight for the Astros against the Minnesota Twins at Minute Maid Park. Following last night’s game, the club optioned right-handed pitcher Chris Sampson to Round Rock, creating a spot on the 25-man roster for Clemens. The announcement was made by General Manager Tim Purpura.
Sampson, 28, was 1-0 with a 3.52 ERA (6ER/15.1IP) in four games (one start) for the Astros this season. He recorded his first Major League win with seven shutout innings on June 7 against the Chicago Cubs at Minute Maid Park.
Previously in the day yesterday (June 21), the Astros outrighted left-handed pitcher Philip Barzilla to Round Rock, opening a spot on the 40-man roster that has now been filled by Clemens.
Clemens, 43, returns for his 23rd Major League season. He is 341-172 with a 3.12 ERA (1632ER/4704.1IP) in 672 career games (671 starts), and his 341 wins rank ninth all-time, one away from eighth-place Tim Keefe (according to the Elias Sports Bureau). The winner of an unprecedented seven Cy Young Awards, Clemens was 13-8 with a career-best 1.87 ERA (44ER/211.1IP) for the National League champion Astros in 2005. His 1.87 ERA led the Majors and he also earned his 11th career All-Star selection last year, pitching one scoreless inning in the Midsummer Classic in Detroit.
Clemens started three games in the minor leagues for the Astros, on June 16 for Triple A Round Rock (5.2 innings, allowed three runs and earned the win against New Orleans), on June 11 for Double A Corpus Christi (6.2 shutout innings, struck out 11 and earned the win), and June 6 for Class A Lexington (earned a no-decision in 3.0 innings, allowing one run).
In two seasons with Houston, Clemens is 31-12 with a 2.43 ERA (115ER/425.2IP) in 65 starts. He has appeared in eight playoff games during his two years with the Astros (seven starts) and is 4-2, including a win in the 18-inning NLDS Game 4 vs. Atlanta, in which Clemens pitched three scoreless innings in relief, his first relief outing since July 18, 1984 with Boston.
Clemens earned his seventh Cy Young during his first season with the Astros, a 2004 campaign in which he finished 18-4 with a 2.98 ERA (71ER/214.1IP) in 33 starts. His 18 wins ranked tied for second in the NL that season. Clemens ranks second all-time with 4,502 strikeouts, trailing only Nolan Ryan on the career list. In addition to being the active leader in strikeouts, he also leads all active pitchers in wins (341), innings (4704.1), complete games (118), shutouts (46), and starts (671).
Clemens also earned the Cy Young in the American League in 1986, 1987 and 1991 with Boston, 1997 and 1998 with Toronto, and 2001 with New York. He became the second Astro to win the Cy Young Award, joining Mike Scott in 1986. According to the BBWAA, Clemens is the first player in history to capture eight BBWAA awards, as he won the American League Most Valuable Player in 1986 to go along with his seven Cy Youngs. He is the oldest pitcher in history to earn the Cy Young and he is one of only four pitchers (Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, Gaylord Perry) to win the Cy Young in both leagues. Clemens is the only pitcher to win the Cy Young with as many as four different teams.
Additionally, Clemens joins Christy Mathewson and Lefty Grove as the only three pitchers in Major League history to have twice as many wins as losses at any point after recording their 250th win. Clemens’ .665 career winning percentage trails only Grove all-time among pitchers with 300 wins, and his 20 seasons with a winning record while starting at least 15 games in all are the most in baseball history.