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Pineiro released, Ankiel's odds of making Nats increase

Former Cardinals pitcher Joel Pineiro has been released by the Phillies while the Nationals' decision to demote outfield prospect Bryce Harper could only increase former Redbirds outfielder Rick Ankiel's odds of making the Washington Club.

Pineiro. 33, pitched for St. Louis from 2007-10 and showed occasional brilliance punctuated by befuddling inconsistency and injuries. His best year came in 2008 when he won 15 games. In 2010 Pineiro signed a two-year deal with the Angles and pitched well in the first season before breaking down. In the second campaign he won only seven games and had an ERA well over 5.00. He was forced to take a minor league deal from Philadelphia with an invitation to spring training.

The Phillies didn't give Pineiro much of a chance once he got to Clearwater. He pitched in only six innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and a pair of walks while striking out three.

Harper got the bulk of the centerfield at-bats from Washington early in camp, hitting .286 in 28 trips to the dish. Ankiel now figures to get more action with his chief competitor in the minor league complex. He's batting .333 in only six at bats. But one of his two hits this spring is a homer.