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Rocket signals

Yankees eager to give Clemens $16-18 million

Posted: Thursday March 8, 2007 8:21PM; Updated: Friday March 9, 2007 5:33PM
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Roger Clemens has been discounting any talk that he will play in the majors this season.
Roger Clemens has been discounting any talk that he will play in the majors this season.
Charles Sonnenblick/WireImage.com

By Jon Heyman, SI.com

NEW YORK -- The New York Yankees took advantage of Roger Clemens' attendance at Legends Field on Wednesday to ask Clemens back to the Bronx, SI.com has learned.

However, Clemens' answer to the Yankees didn't exactly clear up the situation. He told Yankees owner George Steinbrenner that he wasn't close to deciding his comeback plans.

A source on another team said Clemens is believed to be seeking between $16-18 million from June 1 on, which would represent a slight raise over the pro-rated $22 million he made in 2006. That figure probably won't scare off the Yankees or Boston Red Sox but might give the Houston Astros pause. Those are the three teams in the Clemens derby.

It is believed Clemens is planning a June return, like last year when he returned for his third season after "retiring.'' He is 38-18 with a 2.40 ERA since he announced his "retirement'' following the 2003 season.

Clemens was asked by writers in Tampa what Steinbrenner said to him during their visit, and Clemens responded by saying, "I'll pass on that one.'' However, it was learned that the Yankees took the opportunity of Clemens' visit to watch good friend Andy Pettitte pitch against the Reds to apply a little pressure. Or at the very least, ask him the $24 million (pro-rated) question.

"I don't know what's going to happen,'' Clemens told Yankees writers.

That's about what he told Steinbrenner as well. The intrigue continues.