Clemens' Game 5 status unknown

Notebook

World Series

October 24, 2005|By DAN CONNOLLY | DAN CONNOLLY,SUN REPORTER

CHICAGO -- The official prognosis for the most important hamstring in baseball hasn't changed.

The Houston Astros' Roger Clemens is still considered day-to-day after straining his left hamstring in Saturday's first game of the World Series. A determination on whether he will pitch, as scheduled, in Game 5 on Thursday has not been made.

"We will go day-to-day with it to see how it is," Astros manager Phil Garner said.

The unofficial prognosis also hasn't changed. Anyone who knows Clemens expects he'll do whatever he can to get to pitch again in the World Series.

"By no stretch of the imagination am I counting him out now," Garner said.

"I wouldn't count Rocket out," Houston's Jeff Bagwell added. "This is the reason why he came here, to get us to this spot, and I'm sure he ... wants to make a good showing of it. And I think you are going to see him back on the mound."

Astros pitching coach Jim Hickey said the team is preparing as if Clemens will start Game 5. If that plan changes, Hickey said he would anticipate one of two rookies would step in for Clemens: right-hander Ezequiel Astacio (14 big league starts) or left-hander Wandy Rodriguez (22 starts).

Rodriguez pitched 3 1/3 innings in relief of Clemens on Saturday, allowing one run and taking the loss. He could come back Thursday, or the Astros could use Astacio if he is not needed in relief this week.

"If they need to pitch on Tuesday, they'll pitch on Tuesday," Hickey said. "And if one of them needs to pitch on Wednesday, they'll pitch on Wednesday and we'll cross that bridge when we get there."

One thing Hickey wants to avoid is using his other starters on short rest.

"It could happen, but I don't think that's what's going to happen," Hickey said.

Rain delay

Despite persistent showers throughout the early evening, the start of last night's game was delayed only seven minutes. It was the first time the start of a World Series game was pushed back by rain since Oct. 19, 1993, the third game of the World Series in Philadelphia.

Guillen's secret

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen is known as a players' manager, a guy who loves to come out of his office and mingle with his players. He joked that there's an ulterior motive to his hands-on style.

"I think the best thing with managers [is to] go out and make sure [players] don't talk about you," Guillen joked.

He added that he is at a distinct advantage because he speaks English and Spanish - so no one can disparage him within earshot without his knowing. No one, that is, except Japanese second baseman Tadahito Iguchi.

"The only guy that can talk about me is Iguchi," he said.

Good start

Chicago's win Saturday night is a good sign for White Sox fans. In seven of the past eight years, the winner of Game 1 has won the World Series. The only exception was in 2002, when the Anaheim Angels dropped the first game before winning it all. The trend has occurred in 14 of the past 17 Series. Overall, Game 1 winners take the title 60 percent of the time.

Got too serious?

There is nothing funny about a "Got Milk?" television ad that pokes fun at the sport's steroid scandal, according to Major League Baseball. In the ad, a coach pulls a carton of milk from a slugger's locker.

"There is nothing humorous about steroid abuse," said Tim Brosnan, baseball's executive vice president for business. "I would think that the California Milk Processor Board and their advertising agency would know better regarding an issue that threatens America's youth."

dan.connolly@baltsun.com

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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