Clemens Heads to Astros -- as Consultant

Roger Clemens is ready to join the Houston Astros -- as a consultant.

In a sign that Clemens' pitching career could be over, his agent told the Astros on Wednesday that the seven-time Cy Young winner is set to start his personal-services contract with the team.

"He's moving toward retirement and leaving open the possibility of playing," agent Randy Hendricks said. "As Roger has stated several times, he's failed at retirement repeatedly."

Hendricks sent Astros owner Drayton McLane an e-mail informing him of the decision. This was the first time Hendricks formally told Houston that Clemens was ready to work off the field.

After playing in his annual charity golf tournament Wednesday, Clemens told Houston television station KRIV he doesn't consider this a big deal.

"I am going to be doing the same things I've always done, whether it kicks in now or kicks in five years from now, " Clemens said. "Again, it's great that it was part of the contract way back when, but for me it's great I get the opportunity to work with the kids and I get to be a part of an organization that I really love and that I have come to know, not only as a fan and a season-ticket holder, but as a player and now I get a chance to work with these guys."

McLane told KRIV the club will welcome Clemens when he's ready to become a consultant.

"Whenever Roger decides to retire we are looking forward to him taking part in his personal-services contract," McLane said. "We signed the contract four years ago. I have not gone over it. We'll have to evaluate it, but when Roger is ready to go, so are we."

It was not clear how Clemens would respond if the Yankees or Astros asked him to pitch next year.

The 45-year-old Clemens was 6-6 with a 4.18 ERA in 17 starts and one relief appearance for the New York Yankees. He rejoined the Yankees this season following three years with his hometown Astros.

Clemens was slowed by foot and elbow injuries this season, then hurt a hamstring and left in the third inning of his playoff start against Cleveland.

In 2006, Clemens worked with Astros prospects before he decided to pitch again in midseason. He joined the Yankees this June and received $17.4 million, a prorated portion of his $28 million salary.

Clemens is eighth on the career wins list with 354 and second with 4,672 strikeouts behind Nolan Ryan's 5,714.

His decision to start the personal-services contract was first reported by the Houston Chronicle on its Web site.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.