"He wants to play longer," the New York Yankees shortstop said
Tuesday about his former teammate. "He's been doing this his
entire life, so who's to say when you're supposed to go home?"
Clemens supposedly was finished after last season, his final
game a no-decision against the Florida Marlins in the World Series.
He left baseball with 310 victories, 4,099 strikeouts and a record
six Cy Young Awards.
But the 41-year-old Clemens surprised many by signing a
one-year, $5 million contract with his hometown Astros on Monday.
"I knew he was interested, but that's about it," Jeter said.
Jeter played five seasons and won two World Series with Clemens.
The two players spoke last week at Michael Jordan's golf tournament
in the Bahamas, as the pitcher sought out friends and retired
athletes for advice.
Jeter spoke at the SuperShow, a sporting good trade show. He was
there to promote his line of youth pitching machines and sign
Coincidentally, Clemens also was scheduled to appear at the
SuperShow on Tuesday. But he canceled because he needed to take a
physical in Houston, convention officials said.
Clemens' change of heart is only the latest of offseason
developments for the Yankees.
New York owner George Steinbrenner spent the winter totally
revamping the Yankees roster.
Gone are such familiar faces as pitchers Andy Pettitte and David
Wells, and bench coach Don Zimmer. New this coming season are four
starting pitchers, three coaches and at least two position players.
Jeter met Pettitte in 1992 during their rises through the
Yankees' minor league system, and he acknowledged that it's always
tough to lose a friend.
"But you've got to realize one thing: it's a business," Jeter
said. "He made a decision that he wanted to be by his family, so
you can't blame him for that."
Jeter echoed his baseball-as-business theme when asked about
Zimmer's departure to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. The veteran of 55
years, the last eight as Yankees manager Joe Torre's right-hand
man, quit the team after last season because he didn't like how
Steinbrenner treated him.
"Our coaching staff has been pretty solid throughout my
career," Jeter said. "But, once again, people make decisions.
Those things kind of happen."
"I really don't think it's going to be much of an adjustment,"
Jeter said. "It may be an adjustment for them, coming to a new
team. But I really don't foresee any problems."
Steinbrenner's overhaul of the Yankees sparked an arms race with
the rival Boston Red Sox, with the two teams jockeying for
offseason headlines with their personnel moves. That's nothing new,
Jeter said, aside from the more prominent names involved.
Not even Boston's attempt to land seven-time All-Star shortstop
Alex Rodriguez fazed Jeter.
"I didn't think about that too much," said Jeter, himself a
five-time All Star. "I show up in spring training and see who ever
"There's so many rumors, especially when you're in New York,
you'll drive yourself crazy worrying about them."