Tag:Rick Ankiel
Posted on: June 14, 2011 8:24 pm
Edited on: June 14, 2011 8:27 pm
 

Ankiel injury forces Bernadina back in

By Matt Snyder

Nationals center-fielder Roger Bernadina was scratched from the lineup Saturday because of tightness in his left hamstring and had been held out of the lineup ever since. Manager Jim Riggleman had said it was just a precautionary move, and we now know he wasn't lying.

Rick Ankiel got the start Tuesday night and had to be removed for a pinch hitter in the second inning after straining his left intercostal (ribcage) muscle (Mark Zuckerman via Twitter).

There was an interesting symmetry to the departure of Ankiel, because Bernadina was the man who replaced him. He collected a pair of singles in his first two at-bats, too.

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Posted on: April 20, 2011 2:08 pm
Edited on: April 20, 2011 2:09 pm
 

Ankiel thanks Cardinal fans

By C. Trent Rosecrans

You don't have to tell Rick Ankiel that it's his first game back in St. Louis as an opposing player. Ankiel is so aware of the fact that he actually took out an ad in Wednesday's St. Louis Post-Dispatch thanking Cardinals fans for their "support and cheers over the years."

Here's a picture of the ad from Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post:

Rick Ankiel

Ankiel said he remembered when Jim Edmonds did the same thing in his first game back in St. Louis in 2008 when he was a member of the Cubs.

"Remembering that, I was like, 'Man, what a good idea, and what a great way to give my appreciation,'" Ankiel told the Post. "I made some phone calls and made it happen."

Ankiel was the team's second-round pick in 1997 and was in the big leagues just two years later at age 19 as a reliever. In 2000 he was a starter and finished second in Rookie of the Year voting before losing his control, throwing nine wild pitches in four innings in the 2000 playoffs. He continued to struggle until he ultimately came back as a full-time hitter in 2007 and then he hit 35 home runs in 2008 as a full-time outfielder.

He left following the 2009 season, spending last season in Kansas City and Atlanta before signing with the Nationals as a free agent this offseason.

Like most former Cardinals, he will be greeted warmly by Cardinals fans even though he's wearing another uniform, but now the fans have even more reason to do so.

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Posted on: March 26, 2011 1:19 pm
Edited on: March 26, 2011 1:19 pm
 

Nats' manager 'disappointed' in Morgan's comments

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Nyjer Morgan told MLB.com on Friday that he thought he was on his way out of Washington, and he's probably right.

Nyjer Morgan

Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said he was "disappointed" by Morgan's comments. From the Washington Post:

“Somebody brought it to my attention, and I did read it,” Manager Jim Riggleman said. “The thing about it is, Nyjer has been a tremendous worker this spring. He’s been the first guy here. He’s putting in the time in the cage, working with [third base coach] Bo Porter on his base running. He’s been an outstanding all-around guy. So I’m disappointed that he feels that.

“I’m sure it’s based on seeing the two or three other guys he’s competing with. Maybe he feels like we’re sending him a message that he’s not our center fielder. We’re still determining that. We’re still determining where he fits on the club if he’s not our center field. So, yeah, I’m disappointed. I understand where it’s coming from.”

Friday, Morgan said he could see the writing on the wall with Rick Ankiel and Jerry Hairston Jr. getting the bulk of playing time in center field.

"I'm a realist," Morgan told MLB.com's Bill Ladson. "I'm not going to sit here and be like, 'Oh, no. I want to finish my career here.' I just think this place isn't for me. I'm not saying there are bad people here. It's just that, maybe, I'm not a fit here anymore. It's time to move on."

The Nationals have made it clear that Morgan is on the block. He didn't do himself any favors with his comments on Saturday, but the reaction seems to prove his point.

Morgan is hitting .241/.328/.315 with a home run and six stolen bases this spring. Ankiel, his main competitor, is hitting .229/.288/.500 with three homers this spring. Hairston is hitting .174/.235/.304.

Morgan was the center of several incidents last season, including a brawl with the Marlins. Florida, incidently, may be the best fit for Morgan. The Marlins don't think Matt Dominguez is ready at third base and are unsure if Chris Coghlan can play center field. He could return to third base and the team would be able to use Morgan in center.

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Posted on: January 20, 2011 12:44 pm
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Posted on: December 20, 2010 11:25 am
Edited on: December 20, 2010 11:40 am
 

Nationals sign Ankiel, Indians get Kearns

AnkielRick Ankiel has signed a one-year contract with the Nationals, SI.com's Jon Heyman reports.

The deal is for $1.5 million, with another $1.25 million available in performance bonuses.

Ankiel figures to get the bulk of playing time in left field, but will steal at-bats from Nyjer Morgan in center as well. His stiffest competition for playing time willbe Roger Bernadina. Ankiel hit .232/.321/.389 in 404 plate appearances last season, dinging six home runs while splitting the year between the Royals and Braves.

One has to wonder if the lefty would have been better off waiting and seeing if he could get a deal with the Brewers. After the Zack Greinke trade, the Brew Crew are thin at short and center field. Ankiel was the best player of the shortstops and CFs on the market and may have had a fit in Milwaukee.

The Brewers do still have Chris Dickerson, however, who may win the center field job by midseason.

Those teams still looking to boost center field depth have exciting options in Willie Bloomquist, Jim Edmonds, Jody Gerut, Scott Hairston and DeWayne Wise left in free agency. OK, maybe not so exciting.

Meanwhile, Austin Kearns has signed a one-year deal to return to the Indians, where he opened 2010. He was later dealt to the Yankees and finished with a .263/.351/.395 line in 461 plate appearances. His deal will earn him $1.3 million, as Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer outlines.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: November 2, 2010 5:01 pm
Edited on: November 2, 2010 5:43 pm
 

Braves pick up options on Gonzalez, Infante

Alex Gonzalez The Braves have agreed to a one-year deal with right-hander Scott Proctor and exercised their options on shortstop Alex Gonzalez and infielder Omar Infante, the team announced.

Both options for Infante and Gonzalez (pictured) are worth $2.5 million.

Proctor was arbitration-eligible.

The Braves declined their options on Kyle Farnsworth (a $5.25 million option with a $250,000 buyout) and Rick Ankiel ($6 million with a $500,000 buyout).

The team also has an option on closer Billy Wagner, who has repeatedly said he's going to retire. When asked Tuesday morning by MLB.com's Mark Bowman if he'd changed his plans, Wagner "emphatically" said, "No."

UPDATE: The Braves are interested in keeping free agent Eric Hinske around, David O'Brien of the Altanta Journal-Constitution writes.

"There still can be a role on the club for him, even though he’s left-handed," GM Frank Wren told O'Brien. "There are still areas where we can use him. We think he was a valuable part of the team last year and we still have interest in him."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: October 11, 2010 6:31 pm
Edited on: October 13, 2010 10:33 am
 

R.I.P. Royals: Help is on the way

As the sports world waits for the crowning of a champion, 22 other teams are busy preparing for spring training. What went wrong for these teams, and what does 2011 hold? MLB Facts and Rumors here at CBS Sports will be answering those questions through all of October. Today: The Kansas City Royals

Oh Royals, through the 70s and 80s, the team was the model franchise. Since the turn of the century, the team's only been a punchline. That wasn't much different in 2010.

WHAT WENT WRONG

Yuniesky Betancourt Ewing Kauffman died in 1993. That's been the reason for the last 17 years of failure.

Oh, on the field? This year? Beyond Yuniesky Betancourt (pictured) being the team's shortstop? OK, Zack Greinke took a step back from his Cy Young 2009. Worse, he looked like another guy in a Royals uniform -- and that's not a good thing. Greinke went 10-14 with a 4.17 ERA.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

How about Bruce Chen? Chen was 12-7 with a 4.17 ERA (the same as Greinke) -- but if you're looking long-term success, you're not betting on Chen.

Other positives? Joakim Soria may have been the best closer in the game, even if he didn't have too many games to close. Soria finished with 43 saves, a 1.78 ERA and 71 strikeouts and 16 walks in 65 2/3 innings.

The team also got rid of overpaid veterans like Kyle Farnsworth, Jose Guillen, Scott Podsednik and Rick Ankiel.

HELP ON THE WAY

Oh, is there ever.

Mike Moustakas The Royals have the deepest minor league system in the majors. Of Baseball America's 15-man Minor League All-Star Team, a full third were Royals.

The Royals are deep in position players (first baseman Eric Hosmer, catcher Wil Myers and third baseman Mike Moustakas (pictured)) and pitchers (lefty starters John Lamb and Mike Montgomery, reliever Tim Collins).

That's the good news, the bad news is with all this talent, it's still not ready for the big leagues in 2011, maybe 2012.

EXPECTATIONS FOR 2011

Same as they always are in Kansas City -- grim. As noted, there's help on the way and maybe some of those guys can make their debut late in the season, but this won't be the season for the Royals to make a move. There is a brighter days ahead, but they aren't in the 10-day forecast.

SUGGESTIONS FOR 2011

Don't raise ticket prices, because it's going to be another long year.

Greinke has started griping about not wanting to wait around for the Royals to get better, but he's still under contract through 2012. There's no reason to trade him this offseason, his value is lower than it should be and the asking price will be better in 2011 -- either at the trade deadline or after the season.

The Royals have already picked up the $6 million club option for outfielder David DeJesus, and he'll certainly bring something at the trade deadline next year.

There will certainly be plenty of suitors trying to pick up Soria, who is under team control through 2014. Listen, but unless bowled over for a deal, he's too valuable and under control for too long to move.

No fan is going to want to hear that they need patience, but there is actually hope for the Royals after so long without it. If half their prospects turn out as expected, they'll be the new Rays.

2011 PREDICTION

Same as it ever was. The Royals will be out of the picture by the All-Star break, and Ned Yost may even worry about his job. The only drama in September will be whether this team loses 100 games. But this time next year, there may be some excitement for 2012.

Check out the rest of the R.I.P. reports here.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: October 9, 2010 1:55 am
Edited on: October 19, 2010 12:11 pm
 

Braves' win avoids four-sweep scenario

Rick Ankiel
Until Atlanta's wild comeback victory (if you're holding a parlay ticket for Ankiel/Glaus/Farnsworth on a Vegas "postseason heroes" futures bet, you're rich!), it looked like baseball could be headed for uncharted territory: an all-sweep first round. The Rangers, Yankees and Phillies all have 2-0 leads, and the Giants came within five outs of joining them.

In the division series era (since 1995), never had all four series ended with 3-0 results. We have come within one game of it twice, both in the past three years. In 2007 the Yankees got one win against the Indians while the Red Sox swept the Angels, the Diamondbacks swept the Cubs and the Rockies swept the Phillies. Last year, the Rockies got a win against the Phillies while the Yankees swept the Twins, the Angels swept the Red Sox and the Dodgers swept the Cardinals.

In fact, you have to go back to 1975 to find any playoff round (short of the World Series) that was a sweep of sweeps. That year the Red Sox swept the Athletics in the ALCS and the Reds swept the Pirates in the NLCS.

At the very least, the Braves have eliminated the potential of a four-day lull between rounds, something baseball would not have liked.

-- David Andriesen

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