Mar 2, 2011, 9:27 PM EDT
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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