Feb 5, 2012, 10:43 PM EST
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.
COUNTDOWN TO OPENING DAY
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.
Follow us on Twitter
- Zimmerman passes first test at first base
- Rendon reflects on first full pro season
- Giants lose Hunter Pence to significant injury
- Scherzer "happy" with first start of spring
- Braves' starter to see Dr. James Andrews about injury
- New addition scratched from Nationals debut
- Scherzer debuts as Nats open exhibition play
- Mets' Wheeler: 'I guarantee you we all saw what Bryce Harper said'
- After a trying year, Gwynn Jr. tries to come back
- Nationals players excited to see pitching staff in action