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Ankiel's Back!


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I'm sure most of you have heard the news, but today Rick Ankiel was brought up to the Majors. He will start in RF and bat second in tonight's game.

If you can't recall, Ankiel was a very promising young pitcher that some said had a curve like Kolfax and could throw really good heat. He had 11 wins as a rookie and went on to start game one of the playoffs. He threw 5 wild pitches in one inning. He tried to start another game in the playoffs and again, was wild.

From that point on, he was ruined as a pitcher. He was on the team the next year but was sent down to the minors where he slowly went the opposite way you should, and ended up in Rookie Ball. There he started DHing when he wasn't pitching.

He seemed to have his control back for another go a couple years later. I believe it was 2004 and he was looking pretty good in Spring Training. However suddenly (I've heard he felt a twinge in the elbow) he announced his retirement as a pitcher and was going to try and be an outfielder.

In 2005 he hit 21 home runs between A ball and AA ball. He was injured all of last year. At the beginning of this year he was a long shot canidate to make the team, but it was very long and he played for the AAA Memphis Redbirds. So far this year he's leading the Pacific League with 31 HRs but has 90 K's.

Anyway, I'm absolutely giddy about this and I don't know why. For a guy to make it to the majors as a Pitcher, then come back as an outfielder is just amazing. I know if the Cardinals were doing better this year he wouldn't be called up, but still I'm so excited to see him play to at least inject some excitement into this terrible baseball team.

Now if he only could play 2B we'd be set...he's like the 7th outfielder now, and they are replacement level or worse.

Oh, and to make it uniform related, he used to wear his socks high. We'll see what he does tonight we may have another Cardinal that shows off those great striped socks!

Here's the ESPN story:

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2967582

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I remember watching his last game as a pitcher during the playoffs. That is one of the only times I've felt bad watching a guy stink it up on a field of play. He was BAD. If he can pull this comeback off, then this has got to be one of the best comebacks ever (besides John Lester and him KOing cancer.)

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Ankiel hit pretty well as an outfielder in AAA. I think he was around .280 with 30 HR's in Memphis.

Nice of the Cards fans to give him a standing o when he came up to hit for the first time tonight.

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He had 32 homers to lead the PCL.

Tonight so far he's 0-2.

He's popped up to SS and called out on strikes on a 2-2 pitch up and in (that is to say, it was probably a ball).

But he's had some good hacks. And he's here. And that's incredible.

He's wearing #24. I can't recall the numbers he's worn in his previous tenures, but I believe there's been a few.

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I thought he was 66 as a pitcher and then 49 as a player in the minors.

They just mentioned that on the game, but I wasn't playing close enough attention.

He definitely wore 66 at some point (I guess, as you said, primarily when he was a pitcher--his rookie number), but I think he also wore 49 in his last comeback attempt as a pitcher in the majors (he pitched a few innings out of the pen one September).

I think the announcers said that he asked Cardinals bench-coach Joe Pettini to let him wear 24, and Pettini said sure. And now Pettini is wearing 49. I think that's what they said. Haven't seen a shot of Joe that would confirm that.

Was Rick wearing 24 in Memphis?

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As a die-hard cub fan, I hate the stinkin cardinals, I will for all my days.

But this is such a great story, I put all grudges aside from the rivalry to applaud Rick Ankiel turning his career around. Way to go!

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I think it is great that Ankiel has turned his career around. It's amazing that he is talented enough to convert from a pitcher to an everyday player. He is one of the good guys in the game it seems and I am rooting for him. Best of luck to Ankiel.

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