The Washington Nationals today agreed to terms with free-agent outfielder Rick Ankiel on a one-year contract. Nationals Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcement.
Ankiel is a career .248 (311-for-1255) hitter with 64 doubles, 55 home runs and 181 RBI in 416 big league games with Atlanta (2010), Kansas City (2010) and St. Louis (1999-2009).
25 of Ankiel's 55 career long balls came with the Cardinals in 2008, when he hit .264 with 21 doubles and 71 RBI. The season prior, in 2007, Ankiel blasted 32 home runs in just 102 Triple-A contests before joining St. Louis on Aug. 9. He proceeded to hit 11 homers in just 47 late-season contests for the Cardinals.
Ankiel has extensive defensive experience at all three outfield spots, especially in center field, where he's started 287 games during his career.
The 31 year-old Ankiel was drafted as a pitcher and went 13-10 with a 3.90 ERA in 51 games/41 starts for the Cardinals from 1999-2004. He won 11 games in 2000 and finished second in NL Rookie of the Year voting. Ankiel retired from pitching on March 9, 2005 to channel his efforts toward a career as an everyday player.