Famous dad watches as Tigers’ Kody Clemens makes MLB debut

May 31, 2022, 3:10 AM | Updated: 8:06 pm
Roger Clemens, seven-time Cy Young Award winning pitcher, right and his wife Debbie pose with their...

Roger Clemens, seven-time Cy Young Award winning pitcher, right and his wife Debbie pose with their son, Kody Clemens, after the second baseball game of a doubleheader against the Minnesota Twins, Tuesday, May 31, 2022, in Detroit. Kody made his debut with the Tigers in the major leagues. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

              Roger Clemens, seven-time Cy Young Award winning pitcher, right and his wife Debbie pose with their son, Kody Clemens, after the second baseball game of a doubleheader against the Minnesota Twins, Tuesday, May 31, 2022, in Detroit. Kody made his debut with the Tigers in the major leagues. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
            
              Detroit Tigers' Kody Clemens hugs teammate Derek Hill before the first inning of the second baseball game of a doubleheader against the Minnesota Twins, Tuesday, May 31, 2022, in Detroit. Clemens was making his debut with the Tigers in the major leagues. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
            
              Roger Clemens, seven-time Cy Young Award winning pitcher, behind the glass, watches with family and friends as his son Kody Clemens makes his debut with the Detroit Tigers in the major leagues during the first inning of the second baseball game of a doubleheader against the Minnesota Twins, Tuesday, May 31, 2022, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
            
              Detroit Tigers second baseman Kody Clemens catches the popup hit by Minnesota Twins' Jorge Polanco during the seventh inning of the second baseball game of a doubleheader, Tuesday, May 31, 2022, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
            
              Detroit Tigers' Kody Clemens walks to first on a base on balls during the third inning of the second baseball game of a doubleheader against the Minnesota Twins, Tuesday, May 31, 2022, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
            
              Detroit Tigers second baseman Kody Clemens throws to first during the fifth inning of the second baseball game of a doubleheader against the Minnesota Twins, Tuesday, May 31, 2022, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
            
              Roger Clemens, seven-time Cy Young Award winning pitcher, left, poses with his son Kody Clemens after the second baseball game of a doubleheader against the Minnesota Twins, Tuesday, May 31, 2022, in Detroit. Kody made his debut with the Tigers in the major leagues. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
            
              FILE - Detroit Tigers' Kody Clemensis shown during a spring training baseball workout Friday, Feb. 26, 2021, in Lakeland, Fla. Kody Clemens, the 26-year-old son of seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens, was brought up by the Detroit Tigers on Monday, May 30, 2022, for a possible major league debut. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)
            
              Roger Clemens, seven-time Cy Young Award winning pitcher, talks about his son Kody Clemens, who is to make his debut with the Detroit Tigers in the major leagues against the Minnesota Twins in Detroit, Tuesday, May 31, 2022. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
            
              Roger Clemens, seven-time Cy Young Award winning pitcher, talks about his son Kody Clemens, who is to make his debut with the Detroit Tigers in the major leagues against the Minnesota Twins in Detroit, Tuesday, May 31, 2022. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

DETROIT (AP) — Roger Clemens enjoyed some big baseball moments in the city of Detroit, including a 20-strikeout performance at Tiger Stadium.

Not many of them had him as fired up as the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader between the Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins.

With the seven-time Cy Young Award winner watching from a suite at Comerica Park, 26-year-old Kody Clemens made his major league debut for the Tigers.

A day after being promoted from Triple-A Toledo, Clemens went 0 for 3, striking out twice and drawing a walk, as Detroit beat the Twins 4-0 to earn a split. He was flawless in the field at second base, and handled a grounder for the final out.

“It was a long day with the doubleheader and everything, so I was sitting around with my knees shaking. I was ready to go,” he said. “I had some early butterflies, but I went out there and soaked it all in a little bit. I had so much fun. It was awesome.”

A third-round pick in the 2018 amateur draft, Clemens was hitting .283 at Toledo with eight homers and 31 RBIs in 45 games. Drafted as a second baseman, he has played first, second, third and in left field this season.

“I’m just really happy for him – he’s worked really hard to get here and it has finally happened for him,” said his 59-year-old dad, who came from his Texas home to see the game. “We got everyone into scramble mode yesterday to get up here.”

Batting sixth and facing fellow rookie Cole Sands, Clemens lined out to left field his time up.

“There were definitely butterflies in the field in the first inning, for sure, and in the box for the first at bat. He’s a good pitcher and I put a good swing on the ball, so I was super happy with that, and then the walk. Then, you know, two strikeouts, but it was a blast,” he said.

“After maybe my second or third at-bat, I took some deep breaths and was like ‘all right, I’m good,'” he said.

Clemens posed on field with his mom and dad after the game.

“We had so many family members and friends here today, and to get a win while they’re here and see the smiles on all their faces was awesome,” he said.

The versatile Clemens was told he’d be starting in left field Wednesday night against the Twins.

“I didn’t even know that, but that sounds good,” he said.

His father went 11-8 in 26 career starts against the Tigers in Detroit, but has a few special memories.

“This is like a second home to me, because I had an aunt who lived here, and I always stayed in her basement when we were here instead of the team hotel,” he said. “And I went for my 300th (win) here, and of course, down the road, I had my 20-strikeout game.”

Kody Clemens is wearing No. 21, one of the numbers his father wore. He also wore No. 22 with the Yankees and the Astros.

Roger Clemens pitched 18 minor league games before sticking in the big leagues. Kody has played 325.

“We’ve had very different experiences, but we discussed the same thing we always talk about – if you are going to be in the major leagues, you might as well win,” Clemens said. “Find a way to do it.”

Roger Clemens knew how to do that. He posted a 354-184 record with the the Red Sox, Blue Jays, Astros and Yankees. The 11-time All Star was a member of two World Series champions. A power pitcher, he struck out 4,672.

Kody Clemens doesn’t have worry about any comparisons to his father’s hitting. The older Clemens insists he was a really good bunter, but his son doesn’t hesitate to tell him he knows nothing about hitting.

The star pitcher batted .173 (31 for 179) with six doubles and no home runs.

“What’s cool is when he got the news, he got texts from several of my major league teammates, so I was able to step back as a dad and let them impart some wisdom,” Roger Clemens said. “Derek Jeter is giving him advice and Jeff Bagwell is giving him advice.”

___

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Famous dad watches as Tigers’ Kody Clemens makes MLB debut