Leaving very heavily on his caps key, the Tampa Tribune’s Joe Henderson is dead serious when he tells the Tampa Bay Devil Rays “DO NOT TAKE A PITCHER” in today’s Amateur Draft.

This is the 11th draft in Rays history, and they’ve used their top pick on pitchers four times – six, if you count Matt White and Bobby Seay, who became available to the Rays through draft loopholes. So that’s six premium pitchers who have cost the club many millions of dollars, and what do they have to show for this?

Well, nothing.

The combined record of those pitchers with the Rays is 9-29, and three of them – White, Jeff Niemann, and Wade Townsend (above) – have had major arm surgeries that have kept them from pitching an inning in the big leagues.

They spent the No. 4 pick of the 2004 draft on Niemann, who was out of Rice University and believed to be nearly ready for the major leagues. He has proven better suited to medical school. He has had a groin injury, shoulder inflammation and shoulder surgery. He’s tearing ’em up at the extended spring camp in St. Pete, however.

And there is Townsend, the Rays’ first pick last year. He, too, went to Rice. He, too, was supposed to be knocking on the big-league door real soon.

He just might, too, as soon as he recovers from Tommy John surgery that became necessary three months after the Rays drafted him.

Just to be safe, if we get to the Rays’ pick today and they are tempted to blurt out the name of a pitcher, someone in the name of humanity should stop them. If not for the sake of the Rays, then for the sake of the guy they’re about to select. That guy has a future to think about, and I’m guessing he doesn’t want it to involve an operating room.

The Houston Chronicle’s Jose De Jesus Ortiz reports that Roger Clemens spent nearly $7000 on leather couches, big-screen TV’s and other appliances while sprucing up the Lexington Legends’ clubhouse prior to his Class A tune-up start tonight.

As an added measure, Clemens hired a cleaning crew to have all the showers and counters scrubbed. When the Lexington Legends arrived from their trip at 3:30 a.m. Monday, they were stunned to see their new digs.

“We had a ratty old couch and a little TV,” catcher David Kady said. “We walk in and there’s all this here. It’s awesome. You can’t appreciate it enough.”

A cynic might say something about parental largesse being a lousy way to help their kid make friends, but not me. I think it’s beyond awesome the Rocket is able to go down to the minors and really slum it for all of 24 hours.