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Clemens To Debut Saturday

Five-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens will make his New York Yankees' spring training debut Saturday on the road in a spilt-squad game against the Kansas City Royals.

"I just want to stay away from the media circus more than anything," Yankees manager Joe Torre said.

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  • "That was purpose for not pitching him against Toronto the first couple of days and I said I might as well do the same (Saturday)," he said.

    The Royals play their games in Haines City, more than a hour east of the Yankees' camp in Tampa.

    Ramiro Mendoza will start the Yankees' other split-squad game Saturday in Tampa against Boston.

    Clemens, who will work a maximum of three innings or around 45 pitches, was obtained from Toronto for David Wells, Graeme Lloyd and Homer Bush on Feb. 18.

    Orlando Hernandez will start the Yankees' spring opener Thursday against Toronto. Hideki Irabu will get the call in Friday's rematch with the Blue Jays at Dundein.

    Andy Pettitte will go against Minnesota next Sunday and David Cone will face the Philadelphia Phillies on March 8.

    Torre has not decided on who will start the regular season and Yankee Stadium openers.

    "We still haven't put it together yet," Torre said. "We have a lot options."

    Clemens threw 56 pitches during his second batting stint Sunday, while Cone and Irabu had bullpen workouts. Pettitte had a long toss session and will throw batting practice Monday.

    The Yankees will play the first of two intrasquad games Monday. Nne of the starting rotation will participate in the games.


    Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has started talks with the agents representing Mendoza, Jorge Posada, Shane Spencer and Ricky Ledee. If deals can not be reached, Cashman said the team would "probably earlier than later" renew contracts between March 2-11. ... Designated hitter Chili Davis should see some time at first base against left-handed pitching. ... Posada and Joe Girardi will both catch Clemens during spring training. ... Darryl Strawberry returned Sunday, taking batting practice indoors after practice was cut short by rain. The outfielder had a limited workout Saturday after undergoing chemotherapy on Friday.

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