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Rick Ankiel likely sidelined through the weekend

Apr 30, 2010, 11:42 AM EDT

Rick Ankiel got off to a great start with the Royals, hitting .308 with three homers and three doubles through 11 games, but then went into a 1-for-21 slump that dropped his OPS nearly 250 points and suffered a strained right quadriceps muscle while running out a ground ball Saturday.
Ankiel hasn’t played since the injury, sitting out five straight games, and Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reports that he’s unlikely to rejoin the lineup before Monday. However, manager Trey Hillman said the Royals aren’t thinking about placing Ankiel on the disabled list because they “want that bat available off the bench as a pinch-hitter.”
Ankiel started 16 of the first 17 games in center field as part of Kansas City’s touted “three center fielders” outfield, but it was really more like a “three corner outfielders who at some point played center field” outfield because Ankiel has never graded out well there and Scott Podsednik doesn’t even look very good in left field at this point.
Not surprisingly the Royals’ outfield has combined for an Ultimate Zone Rating of -2.7 runs this season to rank 19th in baseball, although Ankiel’s center field replacement, Mitch Maier, has actually posted a positive number while filling in this week.

  1. ecp - Apr 30, 2010 at 11:51 AM

    I wonder if that YTD UZR includes Jose Guillen’s spin in right field last night. It was his first game in playing defense this year and boy howdy, did he look bad doing it.

  2. ecp - Apr 30, 2010 at 12:04 PM

    Podsednik’s UZR in left field season to date over 177 innings is 1.4 and tied for fourth best in baseball with Mark DeRosa and behind Carl Crawford, Josh Willingham, and Matt Holliday. Better than you thought, huh?
    http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=lf&stats=fld&lg=all&qual=y&type=1&season=2010&month=0

  3. Don - Apr 30, 2010 at 1:44 PM

    Thanks for pointing out the Pods stats. I always see writers getting down on his defense which is actually much improved over the past couple of years. He’s worked on his arm and has gotten smarter thus making less errors. He’ll never be known for great defense but I think it’s time for him to stop being blinded referred to as bad on defense.

  4. Ron - Apr 30, 2010 at 5:38 PM

    I’ve watched every game so far, and the outfield defense has been one of the strengths of the Royals so far this year. About the only negative so far is that they don’t play the carom well. They get to close to the ball and let the ball get past them and to to the backup, instead of backing off of it and playing the bounce.
    Beyond that, they’ve played very good defense. But I guess that’s where observational analysis fails and sabermetrics trumps it. Because the numbers are definitely a better indication of anything I’ve actually seen with my eyes.

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