HOUSTON -- Roger Clemens met with Houston's pitching staff, encouraging the young players to "keep their spirits up" as they navigate through this difficult season.
The seven-time Cy Young Award winner and special assistant to Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow talked to the pitchers after batting practice on Saturday.
"It's tough," he said. "The three years I was here we had a lot of close one-run ballgames. You had to grind your way through it. There were a few games when I might have given up a home run and we were trailing and you just hang on and give your guys a chance to come back. They're doing great and they have a bunch of great coaches in there."
Clemens, who travels often to follow the baseball careers of his sons, said he keeps up with Houston's games by recording them on a DVR. He was able to check out the major league debut of top pitching prospect Jarred Cosart against the Rays just before the break.
The 23-year-old Cosart took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and got the win in that game, allowing just two hits and no runs in eight-plus innings. He was optioned to Oklahoma City after the game, but is scheduled to be recalled on Tuesday to be Houston's fifth starter.
"It was very special. I sent (Cosart) a little text and told him: `Way to go," Clemens said.
He added that he also told him not to get discouraged when he bounces around between the minor and major leagues and that if he keeps working hard he will get a chance to show that he belongs with the Astros.
The 50-year-old Clemens also caught up with Mariners first base coach Mike Brumley, with whom he played at the University of Texas. While Clemens was in the Seattle clubhouse he also had a chat with ace Felix Hernandez and signed autographs for some of the younger players.
Clemens started two games for Sugar Land of the independent Atlantic League last season, but brushed off any notion that he would do something like that again with a laugh.