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Roger Clemens, Astros Debate Potential 2012 Start

Roger Clemens and the Houston Astros organization have both expressed interest in "The Rocket" returning to pitch in 2012, but when has become the topic of a hot debate.

After owner Jim Crane said that Clemens could pitch, but not against a contending team, Clemens told a local TV station in Houston the exact opposite:

"I can tell you right now and they would know, too, that if I was going to go do it, I am going to pitch against a contender, that's who I want to knock out," Clemens told Houston television station KRIV. "Why would I want to waste my time running around and getting in shape. I get over to Minute Maid (Park), I'll crank it up and get it over 90 for a contender. We'll knock them right out of the playoffs. That would be the fun. Pitching against somebody that's not in contention wouldn't be any fun for me."

"It's not going to happen."

Based on Crane's qualifications, Clemens would have to pitch this week - with 20-ish games remaining for most teams, Houston plays a three-game home series against the Cubs starting Tuesday, then hosts the almost-.500 Phillies for three games. After that, the Astros close out with alternating series against the NL Wild Card contending Pirates and Cardinals.

For the latest on all things Astros, head over to the Crawfish Boxes and join the discussion. Be sure to check back here at SB Nation Houston for the latest on the ongoing Clemens saga.

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