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Ankiel returns on minor-league deal

Feb 5, 2012, 10:43 PM EDT

US Presswire photo
Rick Ankiel will return to the Nationals on a minor-league contract.

Still in search of a center fielder in the short term and a left-handed bat for their bench over the full season, the Nationals have re-signed Rick Ankiel to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training, a club source confirmed.

Ankiel, 32, hit .239 with nine homers, 37 RBI and a .296 on-base percentage last season with the Nats, but he made his real contribution to the team in the outfield, where his brilliant arm produced nine assists.

The veteran was holding out hope for a big-league deal and the possibility of an everyday job with another club, but he settled for a minor-league deal with the Nationals and a chance to make the roster out of spring training.

If general manager Mike Rizzo doesn’t add another center fielder, Ankiel should have a decent opportunity to win a spot in the Opening Day lineup and perhaps platoon with fellow veteran Mike Cameron in center field. Eventually, though, Bryce Harper’s promotion from the minors would likely push Jayson Werth to center field and bump Ankiel to the bench.

  1. Unkyd - Feb 5, 2012 at 10:51 PM

    If the Shark rakes… Ankiel may not make the squad. Davy will want BATS on his bench, and after all…….We'll Take The Best 25 North!!!!!(gulp-BANG!)

  2. Section 222 - Feb 5, 2012 at 10:58 PM

    So much for not being able to sign him until March…..

  3. BethesdaFan - Feb 5, 2012 at 10:58 PM

    Have been having trouble getting tickets for Take Back the Park series with the Phillies. They offered us tickets on the visitors side only and then thesite shut off

  4. Anonymous - Feb 5, 2012 at 11:02 PM

    Wow, I'm surprised we got him with a minor league deal. I'm very happy though. Usually, I wouldn't be excited about a signing a guy with a .239 average, but having watched him last year, I am. I was impressed with his defense, particularly his throwing. I'm not sure there is as a strong and accurate arm as his. If nothing else, he provides us with options for the outfield.

  5. whatsanattau - Feb 5, 2012 at 11:02 PM

    Woo Hoo!!! I know, I know, not a great bat last year, but great arm, smart base runner, and it gives the team the ability to hold back on Harper for 2 months if need be.

  6. fibi - Feb 5, 2012 at 11:07 PM

    I am a little surprised by this move, if only because I expected our last outfield bench signing to be righthanded and/or more obp than slg focused.That said, I do like Ankiel and it's good to have him back in the fold. Now, until Harper arrives we could conceivably have two righthanders and two lefties competing for at bats. Here is hoping Davey platoons aggressively and we get decent if not spectacular production.

  7. Will - Feb 5, 2012 at 11:10 PM

    Another Boras client settling to a below market one year deal with the Nats…

  8. Jim Kurtzke - Feb 5, 2012 at 11:15 PM

    Good signing. With Werth and Morse at the corners, the Nats need a great defensive player in CF. And Ankiel is a far better defender than Bernie or Cameron.

  9. ignobel - Feb 5, 2012 at 11:20 PM

    If nothing else, Rizzo just strengthened his position in trade discussions to move a pitcher. Ankiel makes it far more credible that the Nats are prepared to hold their pitching surplus until a real demand develops, as it inevitably will.

  10. Anonymous - Feb 5, 2012 at 11:23 PM

    lannan and bernadina = bourjos?

  11. Waddu eye no - Feb 5, 2012 at 11:30 PM

    Glad we arent letting that other game distract from whats important!GYFNG

  12. Drew - Feb 5, 2012 at 11:43 PM

    I'm very pleased with this signing. Ankiel's fine defense, his great arm and his lefty bit o' pop off the bench fill needs.If the Nats are leading late, you could rotate Werth and Harper to the corners and bring in Ankiel to roam center.Good deal.

  13. SCNatsFan - Feb 5, 2012 at 11:55 PM

    Very good signing. Yesterday I listed about 5 reasons he wouldn't sign here.

  14. Original Nats Fan - Feb 5, 2012 at 11:58 PM

    so glad that information I found was wrong. I really like Ankiel

  15. SonnyG10 - Feb 6, 2012 at 12:17 AM

    I'm glad we signed Ankiel. I feel more confortable having him as an option. Good move.

  16. Anonymous - Feb 6, 2012 at 12:17 AM

    I think the reasons he wouldn't sign were listed above by Mark: He wanted a major league contract, and he wanted a starting job as he got from Rizzo with a lot of insisting and lobbying by Riggleman last year.He has NO BAT. He NEVER EVER had one. In the end he is still a good hitting pitcher. The bat improved some when he lost his starting job and starting coming off the bench which provides a glimmer of hope. NO BAT, NO OFFENSE. But the bat he has is left-handed. The Nats now have Ankiel and Corey Brown with minor league contracts + invites to spring training and Bernadina as left-handed outfield bats off the bench. And Bryce Harper is a left-handed outfield bat.Uh Mark? Harper hits Ankiel doesn't? Who do you think Davey will want to start every single day starting in April? Its pretty much a no-brainer isn't it?

  17. Anonymous - Feb 6, 2012 at 12:19 AM

    In what sense? Why would the Angels want either player?

  18. Anonymous - Feb 6, 2012 at 12:21 AM

    If the Nats are leading late, you could rotate Werth and Harper to the corners and bring in Ankiel to roam center.Thank the gods of baseball that we aren't on Giggleman's Island anymore or its likely that would be true starting in the 3rd inning. Johnson sees it differently. He's going to keep his best hitters out there and pull the guy who isn't. And that could be Werth more than Morse or Harper. And, since he is just starting out, it could be Harper. Whoever hits stays whoever don't gets pulled.

  19. Needing Clarification - Feb 6, 2012 at 12:22 AM

    Can someone please clarify: Exactly how many days does Harper have to stay off the 25-man roster to preserve the extra year of control? If they wait one day and bring him up for game 2 is the extra year preserved? If not, what is the earliest day they can bring him up and control him for that last year?Thank you for anyone who can give a clear answer to that.

  20. sm13 - Feb 6, 2012 at 12:26 AM

    Ankiel provides much-needed comfort in center field. I'm afraid this could be the end of the line for Roger — maybe a change of scenery will help him reach the potential we all hoped he'd show in DC.

  21. DHamm - Feb 6, 2012 at 12:33 AM

    Anonymous said… lannan and bernadina = bourjos? Not exactly sure why the Angels would make a deal like this….

  22. Unkyd - Feb 6, 2012 at 1:14 AM

    LannEn, they could use… Not sure they need any outfielders, though, which is why Bourjos may be gettable

  23. Anonymous - Feb 6, 2012 at 1:14 AM

    No one knows the exact day when the cutoff is to save a player's year of control, but it's thought around the first or second week of June you are safe. As the Nats did with Strasburg. Even if Harper rakes in the spring don't expect to see him until June. It's not worth two months to lose an entire year. The best 25 don't always come north. If you remember last year Detwiler was the best starting pitcher in Florida but went to Syracuse because he had an option.

  24. NatsLady - Feb 6, 2012 at 1:20 AM

    I sure would rather have The Arm in our outfield than someone else's. Welcome back, Rick!

  25. greg - Feb 6, 2012 at 1:22 AM

    anon 7:17, i'm not sure how you define "never," but his first 650 ABs, his OPS was around 850. pretty sure that no pitcher has ever had an 850 OPS over 650 ABs. i'm pretty sure most of the nationals' offensive players have never hit 850 over that many ABs. now, he hasn't hit as much the last three years, but "never" hit is completely wrong. still, 2010 he had a 785 OPS (granted, only 92ABs), which we'd take from a great defensive CF. especially as a backup.

  26. realdealnats - Feb 6, 2012 at 1:23 AM

    I'm not saying do it, but what would the Angels want for Bourjos?

  27. N. Cognito - Feb 6, 2012 at 1:26 AM

    Another crappy, no-hit bench.

  28. NatinBeantown - Feb 6, 2012 at 1:30 AM

    Needing Clarification:Basically, a player's free agent year is sped up by one year if he's among the early callups in the first couple of months of the season. There's no exact date, because "early callups" is set relative to all the other teams and their callups. It was formerly the first 17% of players called up, and Anon is right… the first few weeks of June was usually safe. The rule was tweaked this offseason in the new CBA, so it's now the first 22%, so it remains to be seen how much later in the year it may push the cutoff.

  29. Tim - Feb 6, 2012 at 1:35 AM

    I've been waiting for this signing. It's a good one, consiering the runs he saves with his defense, and he's got pop and hits from the left side.On MLBTradeRumors.com, there's a story of Lannan for Bourjos. I think Bourjos is a crap-shoot and a Nyjer Morgan-type risk without the attitude. He's mediocre with the bat, doesn't walk much and strikes out way too much. I hope it doesn't happen. I'd rather have Span. Maybe Lannan and Desmond for Span???

  30. Needing Clarification - Feb 6, 2012 at 1:36 AM

    Nat in Beantown:Thanks.So is the rule for keeping Harper under team control the same as the Super 2 rule? I thought that just gave a player an extra year of arbitration, costing the team more money. I always understood that the issue with Strasburg related to money, not to team control. Is it the same cutoff for both issues?

  31. fibi - Feb 6, 2012 at 1:39 AM

    Beantown, that's not quite right. The 22% rule accelerates arbitration only, not free agency. Tim Lincecum for instance went to arbitration as a so called super 2. But, he had four arbitration years and two years where the team could unilaterally set his salary (rather than three and three). He won't reach free agency early.I have heard that you can't delay free agency by simply holding a player off the opening day roster, but I don't know the answer to the question at hand. Its well before the June cutoff though.P.S. my recollection that Lincecum was a super 2 should not be used as the basis for making bar bets for more than $5…

  32. Is this clarification? - Feb 6, 2012 at 1:54 AM

    According to the authority on everything (Wikipedia):For purposes of salary arbitration and free agency, a player acquires a year of service time if the player remains on the major league roster for at least 172 days of the 182-day season.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_League_Baseball_transactionsIf that's true (and that's a big IF, of course – it IS Wikipedia), why not just bring Harper up on April 16, 10 days after the season begins? That doesn't seem like a lot of playing time to sacrifice to keep him an extra year.

  33. Neal - Feb 6, 2012 at 1:54 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  34. Neal - Feb 6, 2012 at 1:56 AM

    Hey Tim…..I don't think that Lannan and Desmond would yield Span, but I'm willing to bet that Detwiler and Lombardozzi would.NationalsFanatic

  35. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Feb 6, 2012 at 2:01 AM

    This is the kind of signing good teams make. Nothing guaranteed, make the club if you look good in ST, a known quantity, great late-inning defensive replacement. This is not signing Willy Tavares and starting him on OD. This is a depth move for defense, no risk, some reward. Another sign of continued progress. Like it.

  36. Anonymous - Feb 6, 2012 at 2:08 AM

    lannan and bernadina = bourjos? Not exactly sure why the Angels would make a deal like this… They wouldn't. They just might for Lannan, Detwiler, and Hood.

  37. fibi - Feb 6, 2012 at 2:10 AM

    Cbabaseball.com says the following on service time:Actual days in season: 182Max service time: 172Optional assignments <=20 days, player still receives full credit for year.So, if this site is right the nats have to go 21 days without Harper to control his rights for an extra year (2018)Sorry, no idea how to cut and paste a link on my kindle…

  38. NationalsFanatic - Feb 6, 2012 at 2:18 AM

    Hey Anonymous 9:08……I'm not sure that Rizzo would make that trade, but he would likely trade Detwiler and possibly Lombardozzi or better yet, Perez for Span and Lannan to Boston for bench bats.

  39. Anonymous - Feb 6, 2012 at 2:22 AM

    The pundits keep forgetting about Corey Brown … he too was a first round 5 tool outfielder with a left-handed bat. Brown has a great arm (not Ankiel's but then no one has Ankiel's arm!) and better range. He is an excellent center fielder.So, the competition becomes even more interesting … because the Bernadina's (not so much in CF), Brown's, Ankiels, and Cameron's can ALL field. And Jayson Werth can always field … but now he too is an issue because of the dearth of offense last year.The issue is CAN they, WILL they HIT? And that is a pretty big question mark for all except for the second coming of the splendid splinter. He hits no matter what. If you are Davey Johnson who are you going to pick for your team? The guy who hits? Or those who really well don't? Can Werth play CF? YES. Uh next decision.

  40. Anonymous - Feb 6, 2012 at 2:29 AM

    I'm not sure that Rizzo would make that trade, but he would likely trade Detwiler and possibly Lombardozzi or better yet, Perez for Span and Lannan to Boston for bench bats.Rizzo probably wouldn't given that even the conservative Sickel's grades Hood around a B+. "A" means he is a star. That would be Harper's grade. I'd rather see Hood or Goodwin NOW than lock up the future with a light hitting Span and his history of concussions. Span and Bourne ARE NOT the permanent solution for CF that Rizzo and the FO seek. It would have happened if they were. Neither fits. Stop with Span fantasy baseball land.By the way Lombardozzi also grades out at a "B". That is extremely high for a minor league platoon bat. Again, I TRULY BELIEVE Rizzo and the FO would rather see Lombardozzi leading off than Span at this point. I wholeheartedly agree. The CF will not necessarily be your lead off hitter okay?

  41. NatinBeantown - Feb 6, 2012 at 2:35 AM

    Fibi, thanks for setting me straight.Fortunately, both the rules and my feelings about Harper's fielding and baserunning suggest starting him in Harrisburg or Syracuse. But I like the idea of him showing up at ST with no predestination.

  42. NatsLady - Feb 6, 2012 at 3:07 AM

    So– the Nats have to play 10 games without Harper, and my prediction is still in force? Harper here by Tax Day?

  43. baseballswami - Feb 6, 2012 at 3:37 AM

    Once again and all together now — a big fat "no" on Span. And – Harper might be able to hit at the beginning of the season , maybe – he usually struggles for a while at each level. But, can you seriously believe that he is a major-league ready outfielder? I don't see any reason to bring him up unless he can play the outfield, steal bases and in general, play a complete game. Who wants a 19 year old dh in the national league?

  44. NatStat - Feb 6, 2012 at 3:55 AM

    I like Ankiel, but so much for Rizzo improving the bench in the off-season. I mean with the talent out there in the off-season, we are no better off than we were with last season's bench.But hey, we got pitchin' and IMO a better offense.

  45. sunderland - Feb 6, 2012 at 3:57 AM

    Wow, this is going to be an interesting spring. Ankiel or Bernadina? Can they really keep both? Lombardozzi or veteran Chad Tracy? Who would be better coming off the bench? Harper or not? And the 5 in the opening day rotation are…? And who fills out the bullpen?

  46. HHover - Feb 6, 2012 at 4:14 AM

    For the folks who think Bourjos can be had for the likes of John Lannan–Have you actually looked at the Angels depth chart at OF? Yes, LAA views Trout as their CF of the future, but they're aging badly at the corner OF positions. Torii Hunter is no spring chicken, and it's sharply downhill after that–Vernon Wells and Bobby Abreu. They're much more likely to slide Bourjos over (or even Trout himself, for that matter) than to give up Bourjos.

  47. Anonymous - Feb 6, 2012 at 4:20 AM

    Torii Hunter is no spring chicken, and it's sharply downhill after that–Vernon Wells and Bobby Abreu. They're much more likely to slide Bourjos over (or even Trout himself, for that matter) than to give up Bourjos.Yup. But think about who Pujols supplants at first base? Its why I project a trade of Hood, Detwiler (or some other top minor league pitcher), and Lannan for Borjous. Hood would give the Angels a decent outfielder of the future. Lannan their #5 starter. Detwiler a projectable young arm. Rizzo would never agree to it. If he isn't going to do it for Upton he isn't going to do it for Borjous.

  48. Just wonderin' - Feb 6, 2012 at 4:21 AM

    NatStat @ 10:55: How do you figure we got a better offense? The only thing that's changed was the bench and you wrote "so much for Rizzo improving the bench"? I'm not trying play gotcha, but I'd like to know where the optimism comes from about the offense?

  49. NationalsFanatic - Feb 6, 2012 at 4:38 AM

    Here is the current list from the next FA class of Center Fielders: Alfredo Amezaga (35) Michael Bourn (30) Marlon Byrd (35) Melky Cabrera (28) Mike Cameron (40) Curtis Granderson (32) – $13MM club option with a $2MM buyout Scott Hairston (33) Angel Pagan (31) Corey Patterson (33) Cody Ross (32) Aaron Rowand (35) Grady Sizemore (30) Ryan Spilborghs (33) B.J. Upton (28) Shane Victorino (32) It will be interesting to see who gets extended prior to end of this season as well who gets flipped before the trade deadline. In the long term mix at CF for the Nats is Brian Goodwin, Michael Taylor, Eury Perez and possibly Destin Hood. So who will it be? A possible shorter term stop gap like a Victorino (32 years old) until Goodwin or Taylor is ready? Or, a longer term solution like an Upton?Or, if Rizzo makes a trade for a CF before the end of Spring Training, who will he target and who would he realistically have to give up, and would he? Let the debates continue!!!

  50. Whatsanattau - Feb 6, 2012 at 4:40 AM

    I don't know what others might say about improving the offense, but I think full seasons of LaRoche and Zimmerman and more Ramos is an improvement over Hairston/Cora, Nix, and Pudge. After Zimm and LaRoche went down last year the bench included Stairs, Cora, and sometimes Pudge and later Gomes. DeRosa, Ankiel/Cameron, Lombardozzi, and Flores are improvements over last year's bench. It's still not a great offense, but it should be better if health is better. Plus I really think Werth will be somewhat better.

  51. Anonymous - Feb 6, 2012 at 5:04 AM

    You gotta be kidding me! It seems to me like the Nats are doing this guy a favor. He's a low OBP guy, below avg hitter, and average defender who doesn't bring base stealing ability. You've got guys you've signed already like X.Paul who bring so much more to the table. The guy should be an everyday CF. All he needs is the opportunity. There's no rhyme or reason for this move whatsoever!!!!

  52. Nattydread - Feb 6, 2012 at 5:12 AM

    During 14 inning games when the bullpen has been depleted, Ankiel is the go-to "position player pitcher".

  53. John C. - Feb 6, 2012 at 5:29 AM

    Low risk, some potential reward signing, not a big deal IMHO. I will say that in the "Arm vs. Shark" cage match, I don't assume that Ankiel wins and makes the team. Look at their splits from last year – virtually identical, and if anything Bernadina was better (not "good" – just "better than Ankiel"). Sure, Ankiel had a couple of great throws, and Bernadina made a couple of highlight reel catches (two in the top 40 of MLB's top 100 plays of the year). Ankiel has a slight advantage as a vet and since he played better last year. Bernadina has the advantage of being younger and faster (PR possibilities) and on a ML contract. I wonder if Ankiel's deal makes him a free agent if he isn't on the ML roster within a certain amount of time ..

  54. Anonymous - Feb 6, 2012 at 6:42 AM

    I wonder if Ankiel's deal makes him a free agent if he isn't on the ML roster within a certain amount of time … Or makes the 25-man out of ST? You can bet real money on that.

  55. Anonymous - Feb 6, 2012 at 6:49 AM

    X.Paul who bring so much more to the table. The guy should be an everyday CF. All he needs is the opportunity. There's no rhyme or reason for this move whatsoever!!!!Must be a relative or something … ?? Or Paul himself? Mebbe?Xavier Paul, 252 PA, 0.307 wOBA, -2.8 bRAA left-handed bat.Rick Ankiel, 415 PA, 0.303 wOBA, -5.9 bRAA left-handed bat.Neither is very good. Both appear to be okay as bench players but not great. Neither is starting material. In fact NOT EVEN CLOSE?Corey Brown looks like a better choice honestly.Roger Bernadina, 337 PA, 0305 wOBA, -4.2 bRAASame deal with the Shark. Meh.

  56. Anonymous - Feb 6, 2012 at 6:56 AM

    I'm not trying play gotcha, but I'd like to know where the optimism comes from about the offense?Possibly because both Zimmerman and Werth had off years. One because of injuries and the other … anxiety disorder like Grienke? In any case at least one (Zimmerman) will improve. In fact he finished as the 2nd best hitter last year behind Morse. Who was third? It was Wilson Ramos who came on strong at the end. Have to figure he will project to do better.After that? Espinosa? Harper? Flores has to hit better off the bench? Plus I do not believe Rizzo is even close to done … not with 5 slots open on the 40 given the injuries to Marerro and Kimball …

  57. Drew - Feb 6, 2012 at 7:21 AM

    Roger's two highlight-reel catches were thrilling, but the truth is he's a quality left fielder and a bad center fielder.His career UZR in left is 6.6. His career UZR in center is -8.4.Ankiel's career UZR in cf is -4.1. I know small sample sizes matter with this stat, but it's worth noting that he was an excellent center fielder in 2011, posting a 6.9 UZR. Ankiel didn't have enough innings to qualify for Fangraphs' center fielder leader board, but 6.9 would have put him in good company.Here's are Fangraphs' top 10 center fielders for 2011 by Ultimate Zone Ratings.J. Ellsbury 15.6C. Young 14.1C. Maybin 9.5A. Jackson 7.9P. Bourjos 7.5S. Victorino 4.4A. McCutchen 3.5M. Byrd 2.2B.J. Upton 1.4D. Stubbs -2.5Crisp, Fowler, Bourn, Jones and Rasmus were down the list in negative numbers.Of course, the common denominator for the top guys is speed. That means the Nats will have to think hard about the ages of Upton (27) Bourn (30) and Victorino (31) when it's time to go shopping next fall.I still think Rizzo might target Upton as the long-term solution.He could make make Rendon the lead-off hitter.

  58. Anonymous - Feb 6, 2012 at 8:57 AM

    That means the Nats will have to think hard about the ages of Upton (27) If they go with Upton they would be set for at least 4 years +. He can lead off his wOBA in September 2011 was huge. Borjous even longer. The big problem the Nats have is with Werth. He is going to be there for a very long time unless Rizzo can find a creative way to unload him to another team. If he has another bad year you can expect that to happen. With the Nats eating some salary.

  59. Original Nats Fan - Feb 6, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    another post at Federal Baseball re: BourjosBourjos to manage hip pain……[ed. no thanks...]CBSSports.com — The Sports Xchange reports Angels OF Peter Bourjos was planning to play winter ball again this offseason but a chronic hip/groin injury flared up and he has instead spent the winter rehabbing that injury. Bourjos said the hip issue has bothered him “on and off” for a few seasons now and has been diagnosed as a bone bruise with some fraying in the labrum. Surgery to address the problem might be considered following the 2012 season, Bourjos said, but he thinks it will be manageable this season.January 30, 2012

  60. natsfan1a - Feb 6, 2012 at 12:43 PM

    I purchased mine (in RF) from the team site on the day the offer was announced. Had you clicked on the option to find other seats or logged off and returned to the site later? The password was supposed to be a one-time deal, so if you did the latter, the password might have expired. Maybe call the ticket office directly.BethesdaFan said… Have been having trouble getting tickets for Take Back the Park series with the Phillies. They offered us tickets on the visitors side only and then the site shut off February 05, 2012 5:58 PM

  61. Anonymous - Feb 6, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    Low risk, low reward. Love his arm all you want the rest of his body does not play baseball very well. I thought that the club was over its trolling ways. Guess not.

  62. natsfan1a - Feb 6, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    The evening game in the Caribbean World Series? I've watched a little bit of the Series but am not distracted from the Nats. Oh, wait… Waddu eye no said… Glad we arent letting that other game distract from whats important! GYFNG February 05, 2012 6:30 PM

  63. Anonymous - Feb 6, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    How many guys with OPSs that start with a 6 is this club going to try to roster? Looking to break the all-time K record by a lineup? Rizzo, it aint rocket science, get some guys who can put the ball in play, and get on base once in a while so that your pack of 20+ HR bats might knock them in and make a difference.

  64. natsfan1a - Feb 6, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    Also extending a "welcome back" to Ankiel.

  65. Gonat - Feb 6, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    Ankiel is a great guy with an electric arm. He was given a gold opportunity in 2011 and couldn't bat much more than his weight.Now a year older and a year wiser, can we really expect that Rick will do any better? I'd much rather see DeRosa getting the RH at-bats in the outfield instead of Cameron and Lombardozzi get the infield ABs.Now there are 3 LH outfield bats in Bernadina, Corey Brown and Ankiel. None of them are All Stars outfielders. If the best 25 go North, lets see if this is a fair competition.

  66. Anonymous - Feb 6, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    Best 25 will go North!!dfh21

  67. Anonymous - Feb 6, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    Best 25 will go North!!dfh21Boy are you gonna be pissed when the best 25 that goes north isn't your best 25.

  68. Anonymous - Feb 6, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    Huh?I'm playing a drinking game, Anon 8:18. Ankiel may make the club, maybe not. I don't care either way at this point as he's a role player in any event. If this means it is less likely that Harper goes North, then so be it. The club should plan for Harper not to make the cut and be ready to make moves if Harper does make the cut, so Ankiel makes sense at this point either way to some extent. And nobody is expecting Rick to lead off (that was ugly) or to even play every day, so I am not going to be pissed if he makes the go North cut. dfh21

  69. Theophilus - Feb 6, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    People should remember that Ankiel was brought in to be part of a RH/LH platoon w/ Hairston in CF. Then Zimmerman got hurt, Hairston went to 3B and Ankiel was hung out to flail against LH pitchers. His right-hand nos. weren't great (by my cut, .242/.306/.375) but acceptable along w/ his glove/arm for a stop-gap CF. In one doubleheader (Brewers? Cardinals?) he saved 4 or 5 runs w/ his arm. I'm happy he's back; mixed emotions he won't be in CF all season. A Morse/Werth/Harper outfield will be a real clunker in comparison to Morse/Ankiel/Worth. Hope for many ground balls.

  70. MicheleS - Feb 6, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    DFH21..I was in traffic this moring when MLB Radio was re-playing the Rizzo interview and he did the "Best 25 go north!" Thankfully, I was driving so I couldn't do the beer/shot/wine! It's going to be a fun spring training since we will hear that phrase non stop!Anon 08:18.. stay up to date on the drinking games!

  71. whatsanattau - Feb 6, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    Don't forget that at the end of last season, Werth played some center and Ankiel moved to right. Bernadina can play right and left too. I think many anticipate that if Cameraon/Ankiel are in the lineup that they will play center with Werth in right, but Werth will be an everyday player and they might opt to leave him in center and rotate the corner outfielders (and sometimes 1B). Plus if DeRosa plays in the OF he will play a corner position. Ankiel's arm play's as well in RF as it does in CF.

  72. Just sayin' - Feb 6, 2012 at 2:55 PM

    whatsanattau,Please don't take this personally, but rearranging low-OBP, low-OPS outfielders is akin to the old saw about rearranging deck chairs on the Titantic. And, in this case, the iceberg that should be the focus of our attention remains the Nats' low-scoring offense. With the pitching staff the Nats have put together, saving a handfull of extra runs over the course of a season by having Ankiel's arm or Cameron's experience isn't going to make that much difference. I'm satisfied that the Nats will keep their 'runs allowed' numbers down even if our OF makes a few fewer defensive plays than last season. But to increase wins (what the game is all about), the Nats need to increase their 'runs scored' total, and to do that they need to find another solution in CF (or, as you suggest, in a corner and just go ahead and let Werth start getting his reps in at CF for when Harper arrives and Morse moves to 1B, etc.).

  73. Anonymous - Mar 9, 2012 at 4:16 AM

    If Ankiel's shoulder would heal right and he could regain some confidence, he could be a good option against right hand pitchers. Figure out how TLR used him in St louis and he could be an impact bat in the right situations and he is a plus defender. Lots of ifs, but he could play 80 to 100 games, Rick could hit 20 homers and 50 RBI, but if shoulder is still bothering his swing he will not offer much more the defense. I still hope he can get his swing back. Good luck Rick from a Cards fan

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NEW YORK 65 74 14.5
PHILADELPHIA 64 74 15.0
Through Tuesday's early games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 3:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Braves at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Braves at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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