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The Nationals designate Rick Ankiel for assignment

Jul 19, 2012, 10:21 AM EDT

Washington Nationals v New York Mets Getty Images

Drew Storen is ready to come off the DL so someone had to go. That someone is Rick Ankiel, who the Nationals have designated for assignment.

Ankiel is pretty much Ankiel at this point. He’s hitting .228/.282/.411, which is not terribly different from what he did last year. Or the year before that. Or the year before that.  He is on-base challenged but can hit a ball far if he makes contact. He plays good defense and has a great arm in the outfield.

My guess is that he catches on someplace because that kind of player is still useful on a team’s bench.

  1. natslady - Jul 19, 2012 at 10:28 AM

    One of my favorites and I will be sorry to see him go. We all thought DeRosa would be cut first, but I can see the reason for keeping him with Desmond on the semi-DL. Harper proving he could play solid centerfield with almost as good an arm as the ARM was the end for Ankiel. A fun guy, a great teammate, a mentor and teacher to another lefty–Harper. He will be missed.

  2. seeinred87 - Jul 19, 2012 at 10:28 AM

    Noooo. It may be strange, but Ankiel’s one of my favorite players in all of baseball. I sincerely hope he catches on somewhere and gets some playing time. I need to see more highly improbable outfield assists.

  3. kkolchak - Jul 19, 2012 at 10:28 AM

    This surprises me. Ankiel has been regularly coming into games late as a defensive replacement to play centerfield, and does occasionally hit a bomb as a pinch hitter. Meanwhile, Mark DeRosa remains on the roster despite the fact that he hasn’t really given the Nats anything this year.

    I guess Rizzo felt the bench was too lefty-heavy.

    • natstowngreg - Jul 19, 2012 at 11:47 AM

      Dropping Ankiel makes sense because Roger Bernadina has out-played him for basically the same bench spot. The interesting thing is that Rizzo added a reliever but cut a position player.

      Things are going to get a lot more complicated in the next few weeks, if and when Jayson Werth, Chad Tracy, and Chien-Ming Wang return. Werth’s return would break up the LF platoon of Steve Lombardozzi (bats better lefty than righty and can play SS) and Tyler Moore (righty PH and backup 1B/corner OF). Tracy’s return would give the Nats another valuable lefty pinch-hitter. Wang’s return would just add to the bullpen surplus.

      Nice complications to have. Of course, injuries could blow up whatever plans Rizzo and Davey have at any time. But it looks like DeRosa may be following Ankiel out the door soon. They seem like good guys, and I hope they find work.

  4. bossman6 - Jul 19, 2012 at 10:29 AM

    Maybe he will take up pitching.

    • deepstblu - Jul 19, 2012 at 11:59 AM

      I still think Dontrelle Willis should try to come back as a hitter.

  5. shea801 - Jul 19, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    Come one, Matheny. Bring the guy home. Hell, put him in the bullpen, can do much worse than some of the others have…

    • paperlions - Jul 19, 2012 at 10:44 AM

      Oh lord no, I like the guy, but he’s all kinds of frustrating and nearly useless off the bench, can’t hit lefties at all, can barely hit righties, average D….he’s Descalso with power, but no walks.

  6. voteforno6 - Jul 19, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    I’m not surprised by this move, but I will miss that arm. He seems like a good teammate, so I hope he catches on somewhere.

  7. artthoumad - Jul 19, 2012 at 11:05 AM

    I think the NYY might pick him up, seeing how they pick up almost everyone that goes thru waivers. And I’m sure he would be a lot better than Darnell McDonald. Ankiel would be a good 9th inning defensive replacement.

  8. runteddyrun - Jul 19, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    Sad to see him go, saw him play last night in the 9th – great mentor for the younger players.

  9. seeinred87 - Jul 19, 2012 at 11:34 AM

    And speaking of Ankiel’s power, it’s the source for one of my favorite trivia questions to ask people.

    Only 2 players have hit postseason home runs into McCovey Cove. Barry Bonds and…?

    That’s right, it’s Rick Ankiel!

    • foreverchipper10 - Jul 20, 2012 at 11:15 AM

      When he came up to the plate I said the infamous words of “oh great, can’t wait to see Ankiel strike out here” and then BOOM. He made me eat my words. In a good way.

  10. randygnyc - Jul 19, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    Artthoumad- Darnell McDonald has already been cut by the Yankees.

  11. Old Gator - Jul 19, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    That Rick Ankiel has lasted this long in the major leagues after reinventing himself and surviving The Thing kinda reminds me of that Japanese soldier who survived the allied bombardment and invastion of Guam and hid in the jungle for twenty years or so before finally being driven to “surrender” by illness.

  12. jrfstl - Jul 19, 2012 at 2:47 PM

    Additional Ankiel trivia points from one who loves him dearly and might have received a RA lunchbox from my girlfriend several birthdays ago:
    – He and Babe Ruth are the only players ever to hit 50 home runs and pitch at least 10 winners, and both to start a post-season game as pitcher and also hit a home run in one as a position player.
    – He’s one of only two Cardinal pitchers ever to throw back-to-back double-digit strikeouts (the second one done in only 4.2 innings pitched).
    – It’s his 33rd birthday today and I think the Nats picked an especially crappy way of helping him celebrate it.

    I do hope that somehow the Cards find a way to bring him back home….

  13. sophiethegreatdane - Jul 19, 2012 at 4:48 PM

    He can drive 35 miles up the B/W Parkway and take up residency in Baltimore’s outfield. After all, a .228 batting average is something for which Mark Reynolds and several other starters can *strive* to reach.

  14. tomtravis76 - Jul 19, 2012 at 8:11 PM

    The Natural has been one of my favorite baseball stories. I hope someone in contention can find a spot on their roster for him.

  15. bluesfan58 - Jul 19, 2012 at 8:43 PM

    Like others who posted here, I hope he’ll catch on somewhere. He is an absolutely classy guy…the type who actually deserves good things to happen. Unfortunately, he isn’t going to be a .300 hitter, but it is unbelievable to have watched him go from an amazing young lefty pitcher, have what would otherwise be a career-ending mind clutch, and then spend several years in the minors working himself back to the bigs as an outfielder. My two lasting memories of Rick will be his first game back in St. Louis as an outfielder, when the place went crazy when he hit a home run, and the two throws he made from DEEP centerfield later that summer to catch runners tagging up (one going from 2nd to 3rd – Rick was AT the wall, and later one from third trying to score). The guy’s arm was a rocket. If only he could throw 60’6″ accurately…

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