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Roger and me

Healthy Martinez will try to spoil Clemens' 'homecoming'

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Posted: Tuesday October 12, 1999 08:55 PM

  Roger Clemens Roger Clemens is unconcerned about pitching in Boston in Game 1 of the ALCS. Jamie Squire/AP

NEW YORK (AP) -- Red Sox fans have dreaded the idea of Roger Clemens walking atop the mound at Fenway Park, showing Boston what a mistake it was to let him go.

The five-time Cy Young Award winner is scheduled to start for the New York Yankees against Boston's Pedro Martinez, a soon-to-be two-time winner, when the AL championship series switches to Fenway Park on Saturday.

"As much action as there's going to be on the field, I think there will be among the fans," Clemens said Tuesday, a day before the series opener.

Since leaving the Red Sox to sign with Toronto after the 1996 season, Clemens has pitched at Fenway Park just three times. He won 3-1 on July 12, 1997, striking out 16 and walking none as he allowed one run and four hits in eight innings. He didn't get a decision on Sept. 18, giving up one run and five hits in seven innings and striking out 10.

In his only start at Boston since his trade to the New York Yankees during spring training, Clemens got a no-decision on July 31. He left leading 5-3, allowing four runs and five hits in five innings, but the Yankees lost 6-5.

"I don't have a problem pitching in Boston," Clemens said. "Obviously, I know the mound and the surroundings, I know the mound and I know the wall."

His biggest problem there might be tickets.

"We have a lot of close friends who are going to be calling, asking us to stay with them rather than the hotel," Clemens said.

He's not worried about getting too pumped up against the team with which he became a star.

"My emotions are racing all the time," he said, "whether I'm playing in a game in the playoffs or a game in Minnesota."

Saturday's game is scheduled to start in the late afternoon, which means shadows that make the ball difficult for hitters to pick up.

"If the sun is out, it ought to be interesting," Yankees manager Joe Torre said.

PEDRO OK: The report on Martinez after Monday night's epic relief appearance: He feels fine.

"I'm sure I can be as good as I can be on Saturday," said Martinez, who is scheduled to start Game 3 against Clemens.

Martinez strained a back muscle and had to leave Game 1 of the first-round playoff series against Cleveland after four innings. Last Saturday he could barely throw a baseball, but he tested his arm again on Monday night and got the go-ahead to pitch.

He came out of the bullpen and pitched six innings of hitless relief, striking out eight.

"There was a certain aura to the game when Pedro came in. There was a certain respect," Red Sox general manager Dan Duquette said. "When they (the Indians) saw he was throwing like Pedro Martinez, the momentum switched to the Red Sox."

AGE-OLD QUESTION: Orlando Hernandez, the Yankees' Game 1 starter, wouldn't address the question of his age.

The Yankees media guide claims Hernandez turned 30 on Monday, but New York Magazine this week reported on a document in his divorce case that says he is actually four years older.

"The only one that has got a right to ask me about my age is George Steinbrenner," Hernandez said through an interpreter, referring to the Yankees' owner. "George never asked me nothing about my age."

GRUDGE MATCH: Duquette remembers the last time the Red Sox and Yankees met in a playoff-type game.

It was 1978, and the teams were tied atop the AL East at the end of the regular season, necessitating a one-game playoff for the right to meet Kansas City in the AL championship series.

The Boston GM was a 20-year-old Amherst student watching from the grandstand.

"We're here for another shot at the Yankees," Duquette said. "We're playing the Yankees for the American League pennant and we have seven games."

The one-game playoff is considered a regular-season game. That means that until the addition of the wild card to the playoffs in 1995, it was impossible for the Red Sox and Yankees to meet in the playoffs.

But a guy can dream.

"That's something that I've wanted to do since I was 10 years old," Duquette said.

REMEMBERING CATFISH: The family of Catfish Hunter, the former Yankees pitcher who died Sept. 9 of Lou Gehrig's disease, will throw out the ceremonial first pitches before Game 1.

Helen Hunter, Catfish's wife, will be accompanied by sons Tod and Paul, and daughter Kim Hunter-Layne.


 
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