Clemens: 'Right now, I don't see myself playing'

PHOENIX, Ariz. -- Roger Clemens said Monday that he plans to retire after the World Baseball Classic ends later this month, according to a story in Tuesday's edition of USA Today.

"Right now, I don't see myself playing," Clemens told the newspaper on Monday. "I'm not going to start the season with anyone. I made my mind up. And when I do shut it down, I'll be walking away with a smile on my face. There will be no regrets, because I feel like I've done it the right way."

Clemens, who turns 44 in August, left himself an out, however. He could sign with a team -- most likely a contender -- later this summer.

That's consistent with what he's said all offseason, Clemens' agent Randy Hendricks told ESPN's Jayson Stark on Wednesday. "Nothing is really new except Roger confirmed these ... are still his thoughts," Hendricks said.

Clemens is scheduled to start for Team USA on Friday against South Africa in pool play in the World Baseball Classic.

The Houston Astros, Texas Rangers, New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox have all expressed interest in Clemens pitching for them. He can't sign with Houston before May 1.

"It's very flattering that teams still want me," Clemens told USA Today, "but hopefully I can just fade away. I'm going to watch my sons play. I'll see Koby (a third baseman in the Astros organization) play a little bit and get my other one (Kory) out of high school. I'll stay active. There are a lot of things I want to do.

"But the only thing is if I'm sitting in the stands in Boston, or New York, or somewhere in May, and get the itch again, who knows what will happen?"

Clemens has 341 career victories and 4,502 career strikeouts. He led the major leagues with a 1.87 earned run average last season for the Astros.

He still has Houston, Texas, the New York Yankees and Boston pleading for him to pitch. He turns 44 in August, but he led the major leagues with a 1.87 earned run average last season pitching for the Astros.

"I'm proud of what I've accomplished in this game. I've been real lucky. But a big part of that is the people you meet along the way. Guys like Nolan [Ryan] and [Tom] Seaver and [Don] Drysdale and [Bob] Gibson. I probably talked four to five times with Ted Williams, which I consider special because he didn't like to talk to pitchers. I played nine holes of golf with Mickey Mantle before he passed.

"I think the boys here, especially the young ones, are going to have the experience of a lifetime."