Clemens becomes high-tech pitcher

American League notes

March 15, 1992

Roger Clemens' resume includes three Cy Young awards and appearances in the All-Star Game, the playoffs and the World Series. Now he can add a new listing: fiber-optic guinea pig.

Clemens donned a specially designed glove with sensors wired to a computer to get motion readings yesterday in Winter Haven, Fla., on his wrist, hand bones and finger joints.

"I got wind of this and Doc wanted me to get out here and do it," said Clemens, referring to team physician Dr. Arthur Pappas.

"It's all experimental right now. It's the first time it's been tried," said Pappas, who helped develop the high-technology measuring system. "We've been able to get an idea of the motion and stresses on the shoulder and elbow on videotape, but we could never get a reading on the hand and wrist."

Clemens went through his entire repertoire of pitches: four-seam fastball, two-seam fastball, slider, curveball and forkball. Each throw was recorded by a computer sitting on top of a towel and boxes in the bullpen at Chain O' Lakes Park.

As Clemens threw, tethered to the computer, Dr. William Morgan, a hand specialist from the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Lisa Morton of the Worcester facility and Glenn Edwards, an electronics engineer with Greenleaf Medical of California, all took measurements.

"This is like NASA technology brought down to earth," Edwards said, adding that similar devices would be developed for the elbow and shoulder.

After he threw, Clemens spoke of pitching from a technical viewpoint, sounding like former pitcher Mike Marshall, an authority in kinesiology.

"My understanding of all this is that they are not only going to measure my hand strength, but the wrist strength, the tendons and ligaments in your fingers and just how you hold the ball," he said.

"It ought to be interesting to see the breakdown on what it looks like when they come up with the results," said Clemens, who was throwing at around 75 mph, about 20 mph slower than normal.

* RED SOX: After going 1-for-four yesterday, third baseman Wade Boggs joined in contract talks with his agent, Alan Nero, and general manager Lou Gorman, executive counsel John Donovan and assistant general manager Elaine Steward.

"There is nothing earth shattering to report," Nero said. "They are making progress."

Boggs, in the final year of his contract, will make $2.7 million this year.

* RANGERS: Nolan Ryan gave up three hits and three walks, hit a batter and struck out one in 4 2/3 innings yesterday against the Red Sox.

"This was better than the last time," Ryan said yesterday after his second outing of the spring. "I did throw some quality innings. I had about 70 pitches and 34 of them were in that last inning.

"I feel good and that's the No. 1 goal. I was disappointed I didn't finish better. I'm still a long ways from being ready for the season."

Also, it was announced that pitchers Jeff Russell and John Barfield will miss an indefinite amount of spring training while they nurse arm injuries.

Russell is bothered by a bone spur in his right elbow while Barfield has a sore shoulder.

* TWINS: Scott Erickson turned in his second consecutive strong performance of the spring, pitching four shutout innings in Minnesota's 5-4 victory over the Cardinals.

Erickson, a 20-game winner last year, gave up just two hits. He struck out two and did not walk a batter. He has given up just four hits in seven scoreless innings this spring, showing no signs of the arm trouble that bothered him late last season.

Also, manager Tom Kelly said there is a good chance third baseman Mike Pagliarulo will spend the first seven days of the regular season on the disabled list.

* BREWERS: Outfielder Jim Olander was struck on the helmet by a pitch from San Diego's Dave Eiland in the seventh inning and had to leave yesterday's game. The injury was reported as not serious. Shortstop Bill Spiers, who had back surgery in November, saw his first action of the spring for the Brewers.

* BLUE JAYS: Exhibition games at Toronto's SkyDome between the Blue Jays and the Pirates yesterday and Friday night drew a total of 74,681. Yesterday's crowd was 41,288.

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