Dec 20, 2010, 4:15 PM EDT
Updated at 11:58 a.m.
The Nationals have signed outfielder Rick Ankiel to a one-year, $1.5 million contract, a club source confirmed this morning.
Ankiel, the former Cardinals phenom whose pitching career flamed out nearly a decade ago, has resurrected himself as an outfielder and in 2008 hit 25 homers with 71 RBI for St. Louis. He struggled this season, though, hitting just .232 with six homers and 34 RBI in 74 combined games with the Royals and Braves.
The 31-year-old, however, is a gifted defensive player with a strong arm and could challenge either center fielder Nyjer Morgan or left fielder Roger Bernadina for playing time next spring.
Ankiel's contract, which won't become official until he takes a physical, includes $1.25 million in performance bonuses.
A second-round pick in the 1997 draft, Ankiel sped through the Cardinals' farm system and made his big-league debut two years later at 19. The left-hander went 11-7 with a 3.50 ERA in 30 starts in 2000Read more »
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