Cheap Seats

Is Ankiel eager to return to the mound?

I wrote about a month ago that I wondered if former Cardinals pitcher turned outfielder Rick Ankiel would return to the mound if it meant it was the only way to continue his professional career.

Released by the Nationals in the middle of the 2012 season, Ankiel was unable to hook on with another team as an outfielder and things don't look promising for 2013. So now rumors are afloat that he's willing to give hurling a second chance.

Ankiel was ready to walk away from baseball altogether in 2005 when he decided to retire after failing to recapture his control after several years of trying. But the Redbirds talked him into giving baseball another shot as an outfielder.

Ankiel hit .285 with 11 homers in 47 games after returning to the majors in 2007. The following season he hit 25 homers and had a .264 batting average.

It's an interesting situation for the Cardinals because they could really use a left handed pitcher and Ankiel has had the best success of his career in St. Louis. But I wonder if he would be a fit for the Birds because they stand to have a lot of unproven youth on the pitching staff. Could the team afford another question mark?

The nature of Ankiel's control issues has been that he seems fine for a while. But when things go bad they fall apart quickly. 

If he is reasonable in his salary demands, Ankiel was so talented that he might be worth taking a chance on. But it's probably going to have to be a situation where he's willing to take a non-guaranteed deal. 

Since he's been out of baseball, Ankiel has apparently put his free time to good use, working to raise money to help find a cure for diabetes.