Ankiel agrees to deal with Royals

Former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher-turned-outfielder Rick Ankiel(notes) agreed Thursday to a contract with the Kansas City Royals for a guaranteed $3.25 million, including the buyout on a second-year, mutual option for $6 million, Yahoo! Sports has learned.

Hampered last season by shoulder, groin and Achilles’ injuries, Ankiel batted .231 in 122 games. He hit for a higher average in his only full big-league season as a pitcher, in 2000, when he batted .250, won 11 games and finished second – to Rafael Furcal(notes) – in the NL Rookie of the Year voting.

Ankiel, 30, joins outfielders David DeJesus(notes), Scott Podsednik(notes) and Jose Guillen(notes) in Kansas City. It’s likely Guillen will spend more time at DH. Ankiel, who has one of the better outfield arms in the game, can play any of the three outfield spots.

Tim Brown is a national baseball writer for Yahoo! Sports. He co-authored with Jim Abbott the memoir “Imperfect: an Improbable Life”.   Follow him on Twitter.   Send Tim a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated Friday, Jan 22, 2010