1. He’s coming back: After denying contacting the Astros on Tuesday, Roger Clemens signed a huge contract with the team yesterday. The deal would be worth an outrageous $22,000,022 over the whole season, but because Clemens won’t be coming back until June 22 at best, he’ll get a prorated portion that comes out to over $12 million. Not bad for a 43-year-old entering his 23rd major league season. But before Clemens can join the major league roster, he’ll have to make at least 3 minor league starts. The first will be with single-A Lexington, where his son Koby plays. Then he’ll start with the Double and Triple-A Astros teams, and then make his return as early as June 22.
2. Happy to be a Royal: Not many people in the world of baseball want to be a Kansas City Royal, as the team has absolutely no hope for about the next decade or so. But former Atlanta assistant Dayton Moore is, as he will be replacing fired Allard Baird as Royals GM. Moore said he is “looking forward to joining the team and becoming part of the Kansas City community.” Whatever. He has a lot of work to do, as the Royals have been the worst team in the majors for two years running now. Through their first 50 games they are 13-37.
3. Duel of the Year: Anybody who didn’t think that the Pedro Martinez-Brandon Webb matchup wouldn’t live up to the hype was proved wrong on Wednesday night. Neither pitcher allowed a run in a game that didn’t see a score until the 13th inning. Webb pitched seven innings and allowed just four hits and one walk. His scoreless inning streak is now at 25 after two complete-game shutouts last week. But Pedro was even better, going eight innings, striking out eight, and allowing five hits. No runs were put on the board in regulation, but in extras the Mets’ Endy Chavez won the game on a bloop single. The Diamondbacks took the hard loss and are virtually tied with the Dodgers for their division lead. The Mets lead the NL East by 4.5 over the Braves.
4. Carrying his team: Jason Bay, playing in Pittsburgh where he never gets any media attention, is having a flat-out spectacular season. Last night he hit another homerun in the Pirates’ 6-1 win over the Brewers. He finished May with 12 homers and 35 RBIs on the month, which makes up most of his 17 and 46 on the year. Bay has also hit .302 and has been one of the only positives on a 19-34 team that altogether lacks pitching. If Bay ever gets traded to a contender, he will become an absolute superstar.
5. Are they really the best?: The Tigers have played some bad competition for the majority of this season, which diminishes their 35-18 record. But now that they will begin to face some playoff-caliber teams, we’ll see if they’re for real. Well, so far in their murderous upcoming stretch they’ve proved the doubters right, as they are down 3-0 in their series against the Yankees. Last night they lost 6-1 to New York, who featured a complete-game shutout from Mike Mussina. Alex Rodriguez got three hits and drove in two for the Yankees, who are still tied with the Red Sox for the division lead. Meanwhile, the Tigers are still leading the White Sox in their division, though they probably won’t be after facing Boston, Toronto, and new rival Chicago in their next three series.