Last week, some scribes were writing Rick Ankiel's baseball obituary. Monday night, he'll be in the starting lineup for the New York Mets. Another reminder that Ankiel is a player with more lives than a lot of people expected.
Ankiel was designated for assignment by the Houston Astros on May 6 after starting the season with 25 strikeouts in 65 plate appearances. He had only 12 hits, five of which were home runs. But if he couldn't cut it for the lowly Astros, could he play anywhere?
Turns out the answer is yes. After opting for free agency, Ankiel agreed to a contract Monday afternoon with the Mets, news first reported by Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The Mets outfield — home of Lucas Duda, Jordany Valdespin, Marlon Byrd, Colin Cowgill and Mike Baxter — isn't great either, so Ankiel gets another stop on his unusual career path.
Ankiel, 33, started as a pitcher, imploded on the mound in the 2000 postseason, then started over as an outfielder. He found enough success to play in at least 60 games each year since 2008, when he hit 25 home runs for the St. Louis Cardinals. The Mets, however, will be his sixth team since 2009 after spending 10 years with the Cardinals.
He'll be batting seventh for the Mets on Monday. And in a full-circle moment, they'll be playing the Cardinals.
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