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Former Cardinals OF Ankiel signs with Astros

The Astros have signed former Cardinals pitcher turned outfielder Rick Ankiel to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Ankiel, a .244 hitter in the majors, played 68 games last season with the Nationals before being released after batting .228 with 5 home runs.

There was speculation that Ankiel, who was unable to catch on with another team last season after being let go by Washington, would have to return to the mound as a pitcher if he was going to continue his major league career. But it seems that he has found another chance as an outfielder with the rebuilding Astros. Ankiel has insisted that he will not convert back to being a pitcher.

I was just thinking the other day that the lack of news about Ankiel must have meant his days in the big leagues were over. It couldn't have hurt Ankiel's cause that the former director of the Cardinals minor leagues is now the general manager in Houston. But I'm glad to see a guy who has gone through so much get a break.