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Clemens returns to scene of blow-up

Boston's Roger Clemens returns to the scene of what likely will be remembered as his biggest crime. Clemens pitches today against the Athletics in the Oakland Coliseum, where he was last seen being escorted off the field by security personnel after being ejected from Game 4 of the 1990 American League playoffs.

At least Clemens won't be thinking back to what transpired in his final appearance of 1990.

Looking at Oakland, as far as a rematch of the playoffs, it's because it's so early in the season, " Clemens said.

"I don't put a whole lot of stock in it, other than trying to win the games we're playing. There's nothing special about going into Oakland."

There was nothing ordinary about Clemens' last start at Oakland.

In an attempt to keep Boston's pennant hopes alive with the Red Sox one loss away from being eliminated by the A's, Clemens became the fifth player ever to be ejected from a playoff game after a second-inning shouting match with home-plate umpire Terry Cooney.

Clemens looks back at the incident without regret.

"I reacted how I was supposed to react, and its water under the bridge now," he said ". . .It wasn't an embarrassing situation. It was a one-on-one situation between Terry and I, and that was it. It might have been magnified because of the playoffs, and I guess it's something to write about or talk about. But it's not a big deal in my pitching career, and it doesn't bother me or affect me in any way as to how I go about my work."

The incident cost Clemens one start this season as he was suspended for five games by American League president Bobby Brown. Clemens appealed his case to commissioner Fay Vincent, bringing in a lip reader as a witness and presenting more than 600 pages of testimony in a failed attempt to overturn the suspension. Clemens served his suspension from April 26-May 1.

Langston enjoying

'91 after rocky '90

ANAHEIM, Calif. - Mark Langston wasn't grouchy last year while he was going through a miserable season, and he's not gloating now that he's winning again.

Langston, one of the most coveted free agents on the market in the winter of 1989, signed a five-year contract for $16-million with California. But in his first season with the Angels, he had a 10-17 record with a 4.40 eamed-run average.

This year, his second with the team, he has a 7-2 record and a 3.58 ERA and has won six of his last seven decisions. He also has gone seven innings or more in his last eight starts.

Langston said he prefers not to talk about last season, saying only, "This year is a lot more fun. And I think it's a different team this year."

California manager Doug Rader, asked if it was obvious even last year Langston eventually would start winning, considering the impressive credentials he brought to the Angels, replied sternly: "It's nice to be able to say that now, but ...

"I noticed people didn't hold back on their criticism. It seemed to be very easy for people to criticize him last year, sell this young man short."

Rader, obviously angered somewhat by the memory, said, "I felt for him for what he had to go through. But he stayed on a even keel.

"That's one of the highest compliments I could pay a person."