Ankiel to compete for spot with Astros

Rick Ankiel, the pitcher-turned-outfielder who belted 25 homers for the Cardinals in 2008, will be coming to Spring Training as a non-roster invitee for the Astros.

Ankiel, 33, has hit 69 homers in 1,793 career Major League at-bats with the Cardinals, Royals, Braves and Nationals, where he spent the last two years. He possesses a tremendous arm, not surprising considering he came up as a pitcher.

Ankiel won 13 games for the Cardinals, mostly from 1999-2001. He was 11-7 with a 3.50 ERA in 31 games (30 starts in 2000), but his sudden inability to throw strikes forced him to try his hand as a hitter.

Ankiel will be reunited with Astros manager Bo Porter, who came from Washington, and general manager Jeff Luhnow, who worked in the Cardinals front office from 2003-11.

“He can play all three outfield positions,” Luhnow said. “He’s got a plus-plus arm and plays good defensively. He’s a left-handed power bat. In my time I overlapped with him at the Cardinals, he was a very special player. He had big-time power at Triple-A and got promoted to the big leagues and showed that power there. He’s been inconsistent the last few years, but we really feel like this is a guy we want to take a chance on. He’ll come into camp looking to make the club.”

 

3 Comments

Wow, what an interesting bit of news. If Ankiel shows he can still play he could be a good addition to this very young team. This team could definitely use some veteran leadership!

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Brain, yes, Rick Ankiel would be good for the Astros if Bo can get the connections together before the sesson gets underway  !!!!                               Ralph

       

If Rick Ankiel couldn’t hit OUR pitchers last year…….he can’t hit ANY ONE.
This is a “I hope he can STILL play” kinda signing. Meh…….

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