Clemens' MRI: disrupted scar tissue
Hope remains for Rocket to start Saturday for Yankees
CHICAGO -- An MRI exam taken on Roger Clemens' right groin Monday showed disrupted scar tissue, and the Yankees are optimistic that the seven-time Cy Young Award winner will make his season debut this weekend.
Clemens was examined in Tampa, Fla., two days after informing the Yankees that he would be unable to pitch as scheduled against the White Sox due to what the right-hander termed "groin fatigue."
The diagnosis puts Clemens on track to make his first start of the year Saturday against the Pirates at Yankee Stadium.
"We knew it wasn't going to show anything," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "We knew that wasn't going to be the case, since he's had previous problems there. It's some old scar tissue, and we believe he'll pitch Saturday."
Clemens is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Wednesday at Legends Field in Tampa before coming north to prepare for his start. With Clemens scratched from Monday's game, the Yankees instead recalled right-hander Matt DeSalvo from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to pitch against the White Sox.
Clemens is believed to have tweaked a groin muscle during the first inning of a May 28 start against the Toledo Mud Hens -- his third Minor League effort -- as he works to start the clock on a prorated one-year, $28 million contract signed with New York on May 6.
"We know he's going to help us," outfielder Johnny Damon said. "We knew when they announced him that we needed him that day. We've been able to get by using DeSalvo and [Tyler] Clippard, whom we think are going to be pretty decent pitchers.
"But we also know with Roger pitching one day a week, that it'll be nice to have a Cy Young."
The Yankees have speculated that Clemens may have aggravated the groin situation during a bullpen session at Yankee Stadium last Wednesday. He played catch Monday in the outfield during a 2-hour, 50-minute workout at the Yankees' Minor League complex and did not speak to reporters, according to The Associated Press.
On Sunday, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman described the hurler as "optimistic" that his recovery would not take long, and said that the possibility of groin injuries was a risk the team was willing to accept when it entered into the agreement to bring Clemens back to the Bronx.
"This is something that is the reality of Roger," Cashman said Sunday. "Throughout his career, he's had a lot of injuries there in the groin. Historically, he gets through it. He knows his body and this is part of him."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.