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Clemens visits Astros camp

Seven-time Cy Young Award winner happy for chance to help club

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens, who serves as a special assistant to Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, was in camp when pitchers and catchers hit the field Saturday for the first workout of the spring.

Clemens, wearing an Astros pullover and visor and jeans, addressed the pitchers and catchers for a couple of minutes prior to the beginning of the workout, and then watched pitchers throw while talking to various members of the staff.

It's the first of what should be a handful of appearances in camp this year by Clemens, who pitched for the Astros from 2004-06. Clemens addressed the players as part of an introductory meeting in which manager A.J. Hinch introduced his entire staff.

"There's opportunity here, like there is every year when you come to Spring Training," Clemens said. "Sometimes there's more openings in the starting rotation or the bullpen than some other years, but there's opportunities there, so I'm excited for those guys. I can still think back to when I was 21 and doing this and I told 'em, I was very thankful that I had the opportunity to un-retire the second or third time, whatever it was, and have the opportunity to play at home. That's what I expressed to the guys."

Hinch, who went 2-for-11 in his career against Clemens (including a home run), was thrilled his players got a chance to hear from Clemens.

"He's one of the best competitors that ever toed the rubber," he said. "If our guys can take a little bit of that away from him and learn what makes him tick that's very [beneficial]. The pitcher-batter confrontation, he talked a lot about. He's intense. Roger brought that intensity every night, he brought that preparation into his work ethic and things like that. It's pretty cool to see him deliver that message to the players."

Clemens is one of several legacy players who will come to camp this year, including Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, Hall of Famer-to-be Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell, who recently agreed to return to the organization.

"Every time Roger comes it's great," Luhnow said. "He gets an opportunity to interact one-on-one with the players and the thing about Roger is, is the wisdom he shares is not only appropriate for our pitchers, it's great for our catchers and position players and even our staff members. We've been having a lot of our former alumni here this spring and I'm looking forward to it. I just told the guys inside, it's an opportunity for them to interact one-on-one with some of the greats of the game."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.
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