Robertson's status unclear heading into spring

By Tom Price Jr.

With the addition of Roger Clemens and Andy Petitte, Exeter native Jeriome Robertson could possibly fall out of the Houston Astros starting rotation, and he couldn't be happier.

"You would never think anything like this would ever happen in Houston," Robertson said. "I am not going to say, 'I don't want Roger Clemens or Andy Petitte.' Your ultimate goal is to win the World Series and the five spot is still open in the rotation."

Robertson, who competed for and won a spot on Houston's rotation last year, winning an Astros rookie record 15 games in the process, says he plans on being a starter this season.

If everything goes the way I plan I will go in that five spot," Robertson said. "[The organization] will have a decision but I definitely want to start. I don't feel like I am capable of doing as good a job in the bullpen as I am a starter. I am too young to give up the starting job."

Robertson said the team will make a decision who will complete the rotation that includes Clemens, Petitte, Roy Oswalt and Wade Miller before Spring Training. For now Robertson is anxious to meet his new teammates.

"Roger was one of my favorite pitchers growing up," Robertson said. "That bulldog aggressiveness that he has and intelligent on top of that. To have him here to give me mental advice is pretty outstanding. And Petitte who is left-handed, is even more outstanding."

The announcement of Clemens' one-year contract with the Astros came during a Jan. 12 press conference. The Astros chairman and chief executive officer Drayton McLane Jr. talked about the addition of Clemens.

"Roger Clemens is one of the true legends of the game of baseball," McLane said. "Adding Roger to our team is one of the proudest moments in the history of our team, and we are very excited to watch him pitch in an Astros uniform and help us in our goal to win a World Series championship."

Clemens, 41, joins the Astros after five seasons with the New York Yankees where the right-hander compiled a 77-36 record. He was 17-9 with a 3.91 ERA for the American League Champions in 2003 and was named to his ninth American League All-Star team.

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