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Ankiel’s unique perspective

Mar 2, 2011, 9:27 PM EST

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Rick Ankiel, once a pitching phenom, has resurrected his career as an outfielder.

VIERA, Fla. — The newly acquired outfielder walked across the clubhouse, approached the young pitcher and extended his arm.

“Hey, I’m Rick Ankiel,” he said.

“Nice to meet you,” Stephen Strasburg replied.

These kind of introductions happen during the first few days of camp every spring. Guys exchange a few pleasantries, and that’s that. They’re now teammates.

In this case, there was perhaps a bit more meaning behind the intro. Because a dozen years ago, Rick Ankiel was Stephen Strasburg, a supremely talented pitching phenom drawing all kinds of attention for his exploits on the mound.

If anyone can relate to the hype machine Strasburg found himself in last season, it’s Ankiel. Not that he feels the need yet to impart his wisdom on the kid.

“From what I’ve seen, it looks like he’s got a pretty good grasp of what’s going on and how to handle himself,” Ankiel said. “It doesn’t appear that he really needs any help, in my opinion.”

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  1. Anonymous - Mar 2, 2011 at 9:37 PM

    I hope he shook Staussy's non-pitching hand. Rick's mound meltdowns were epic. Good thing he can hit.BTW-Mark, your new profile pic makes you look 10 yrs older. Or was last year just that bad?

  2. Drew8 - Mar 2, 2011 at 10:26 PM

    Call me a prude, but I with the Nats would stop bringing in guys who have a history of using performance-enhancing drugs.LoDuca, Morse, Santangelo, Ankiel….What kind of message does this send to guys like Bryce Harper and the newly beefy Roger Bernadina?

  3. Drew8 - Mar 2, 2011 at 10:28 PM

    Make that I WISH the Nats….

  4. joemktg - Mar 2, 2011 at 10:28 PM

    Tremendous perspective from Ankiel, and a fascinating juxtaposition.

  5. Anonymous - Mar 2, 2011 at 10:29 PM

    Forgive me if this has been covered earlier and I missed it, but does Morgan have options? If Morse, Bernadina and Ankiel stay hot and Morgan never does heat up, can he be sent to AAA?

  6. Drew8 - Mar 2, 2011 at 10:44 PM

    BTW: Jerry Hairston Jr. also is listed in the Mitchell Report, as was Ron Villone. I've always been in Rizzo's corner, but as he touts the "better grade of beef" in the Nationals' clubhouse, I hope he's mindful of the message he's sending about the end and the means.

  7. Mark'd - Mar 2, 2011 at 10:47 PM

    Drew8 I wouldn't put to much stock into comparing Santangelo and LoDuca with the others who appear to be guilty with extenuating circumstances.Bernadina was pumped last year too and I have no doubts that is doing it the right way

  8. Anonymous - Mar 2, 2011 at 11:14 PM

    It's weird to think that Ankiel is only 1 year older than Nyjer Morgan. We think of Morgan as young, and as Ankiel as a fair bit older, considering he was pitching playoff baseball 10 years ago.

  9. MicheleS - Mar 2, 2011 at 11:44 PM

    Nice job with Ankiel. I hope the young ones take notice of his story.BTW.. Mark the picture makes you look like Sanjay Gupta's (CNN DR) brother

  10. JaneB - Mar 3, 2011 at 1:28 AM

    My husband, the life-long Cards fan, and I were imagining this very conversation the day that Ankiel got signed. Thanks for spotting and reporting it, Mark!WON'T IT BE GREAT TO SEE WHAT MARK SPOTS WHEN WE FINALLY GET TO PLAY IN OCTOBER? Sorry – I just had a flash of that. Maybe not next year. Maybe (I know "not" goes here, but I'm skipping it) next year. But soon….





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