Astros owner will wait and see on results of probe

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Roger Clemens' 10-year personal services contract with the Houston Astros could be affected by the FBI's investigation into whether he lied to Congress about using steroids.

Astros owner Drayton McLane said Thursday he might re-evaluate the deal -- which kicks in when the star pitcher officially retires -- in light of Clemens' legal issues.

"We'll just have to see what happens," McLane said. "You're just putting supposition into it and we'll just have to wait and see what develops."

McLane said he's also evaluating whether Clemens will continue working with the team's minor leaguers, which he has done the past two days.

"That makes it more complex, it sure does," McLane said, speaking before the FBI announced the inquiry. "We'll just have to look at that and see what transpires. We'll have to evaluate it at the time."

Before starting to throw batting practice to the minor leaguers at Astros camp Thursday, Clemens offered a terse response to a question about the congressional request for a Justice Department investigation into whether he committed perjury in his denials of steroid use.

"I'm going to handle it the right way," Clemens said. "You guys are wasting your time. We're going to handle it the right way."

McLane admitted he isn't thrilled about the attention Clemens is drawing at the Astros' spring training camp, where the seven-time Cy Young Award winner has been throwing batting practice to minor leaguers.

"That brings a lot of media here and the only regrettable part is it takes the focus off of baseball," McLane said.

Clemens' contract with the Astros allows him to work with the minor leaguers, including his oldest son, Koby.

McLane said he hasn't spoken to Clemens about his contract since before he testified in February, answering allegations of steroid use brought by former personal trainer Brian McNamee. Tal Smith, the Astros' president of baseball operations, and Clemens' agents, Alan and Randy Hendricks, were also involved in that last conversation.

"We all agreed that we would just see where this led," McLane said. "We'll just see what transpires. The real important factor is what steps will the government take? We'll have to wait and see."

Clemens played for the Astros from 2004-06. He also worked out at Astros camp last season before deciding in May to play for the New York Yankees.

McLane said he'll also wait before deciding if he'd want Clemens to play for the Astros again if he decided to make one more comeback.

"We're going to have to wait and see what happens," McLane said. "The last year, he didn't make his decision until May. The year before, it was about May before he made a decision. This is still cold February.

"This is down the road if it's true to form to what's occurred the last two years. It's too early," he said.

The FBI announced the investigation about the same time the Rocket was leaving the Astros' minor league complex. As he walked to his vehicle, he refused to answer another question about his legal situation.

Clemens threw for about 45 minutes and then moved to an indoor batting cage, where he threw for about another half-hour.

Earlier, Clemens didn't seem fazed as he worked with the minor leaguers, joking with Koby and giving the players instruction.

"How's the old man looking?" Clemens' son cracked to the batters facing him. "He throwing strikes?"

"Don't you have work to do?" Clemens responded.

As he did on Wednesday, Clemens threw more than 100 pitches and offered pointers in between.

"You guys think you're seeing the ball, but you're not," he said. "Use your eyes, come on."

The Rocket wasn't holding much back as he whizzed several pitches by almost every batter.

"I missed every one of them," Jordan Parraz said. "I'm not used to that."

Houston catcher Brad Ausmus said he feels bad for Clemens, one of his close friends.

"I'm not sure if it's shocking or sad," he said. "I wish it wasn't happening."

Ausmus called the government's involvement in baseball's steroid issues "a little extreme." But he said not even Clemens should be spared if he is found guilty of giving false testimony.

"If being under oath is going to carry any weight, you have to have the threat of perjury, regardless of what the case is or who the person is," he said.