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Ankiel may not be ready by opener

Mar 31, 2012, 8:26 PM EDT

US Presswire photo
Rick Ankiel has been hampered by a tight quadriceps muscle all spring.

VIERA, Fla. — Rick Ankiel's quadriceps injury that has lingered for weeks might just linger long enough to prevent the veteran center fielder from making the Nationals' Opening Day roster.

Ankiel was out of the lineup today and will miss his fifth straight game tomorrow when the Nationals travel to Jupiter to face the Cardinals. With only two more exhibition games remaining — Monday in Fort Myers, Tuesday in Washington — Ankiel is running out of time to get at-bats before Thursday's season opener in Chicago.

"If he didn't get some at-bats the last couple days, we might have to re-evaluate," manager Davey Johnson said following today's 6-2 loss to St. Louis. "Just to be on the safe side, to start the season."

Ankiel, projected to begin the season as the Nationals' starting center fielder, thought he had overcome this issue about a week ago when he returned to the lineup. But the tightness he's felt in his left quadricepsRead more »

  1. JayB - Mar 31, 2012 at 8:34 PM

    "If Ankiel does land on the DL, the Nationals would turn to Roger Bernadina as their Opening Day center field and have him platoon with the right-handed Brett Carroll."Amazingly weak options……Even when you include Rick A. who I love as a 5th OF but now we are talking about starting the season with two guys who should not even be in the Bigs……This is just like old times for this team. Really unacceptable for a GM to not have addressed such a Key Position year after year after year.

  2. Cease the Opportunity - Mar 31, 2012 at 8:35 PM

    Roger to the rescue…

  3. Anonymous - Mar 31, 2012 at 8:35 PM

    Yup, Roger Bernadina, Brett Carroll, Corey Brown (both have great arms not much worse than Ankiel) … plus Jayson Werth. Looks covered.Still think they should consider Hawpe over Chad Tracy … I'm certain Tracy noticed that name on the waiver wire thus today's performance. Hawpe plus Nady would give the Nats something far better than last year's attempt with Matt 'Stares'. Hawpe could end up on any of the other NL East contenders. With the Phillies hurting every team has to figure the division is wide open at this juncture.

  4. Anonymous - Mar 31, 2012 at 8:44 PM

    Really unacceptable for a GM to not have addressed such a Key Position year after year after year.JayB, after the JimBo, Dukes, Milledge and Kearns fiasco … you were all worked up about right field as I recall? Now they have Werth and a pretty long queue down into the minors which includes top prospect Bryce Harper?Now, suddenly, its CF? Post Nyjer Morgan which was Rizzo's choice for the position and fit in well with Riggleman's management style.Today we have a different management style. It appears Davey Johnson prefers more of an impact hitter in CF and at lead-off for that matter. McCutchen's, Kemps, even BJ Upton's do not grow on trees. You usually have to develop them. I believe the FO is making a concerted effort to do exactly that? The problem for you is that no one wants to rush prospects to the majors as that could permanently retard their progress and turn them into AAAA players. Remember, who the Nats CF of the future was? He's still out there and that failed thanks to poor player development an management by JimBo who is more of a marketing type than a GM. I.E. Justin Maxwell?I don't believe you will see Bourn, Span, whatever slap hitter in CF as long as Johnson is involved in roster creation. Its going to be someone with a big bat … and given the current tact that ownership appears to favor (and I do know you hate) the CF is likely going to come from and be developed from within.But, the overall roster has improved. The most important part: pitching right? Appears to be night-and-day over last season. The defense should be about as good, perhaps slightly worse …My take is that it will take some time to build a synergistic offense but they will manage to accomplish that in short order and from that your CF position will eventually get filled. This ain't the JimBo Joy Riding Segway Segue to a losing season. This team looks like its going to win games.

  5. JayB - Mar 31, 2012 at 8:52 PM

    All True except everyone including me has known and said CF is a dark hole for this team since 2005 when they came to town and I became a Season Ticket holder.Team is finally ready to win….that is why I think they should spend now ($ and Trades) to fill the Bench and CF/Lead Off holes.No telling what the future will bring…..More Tommy John injuries to like Storen and Clipp and Strass again….look at that picture in the new post…..or what we all hope is years of health and progress with the farm hands…..You have to go all out when the window is open….it is open this year…next year…..Who knows…..

  6. sjb - Mar 31, 2012 at 9:20 PM

    There are basically three alternatives: 1) wait for Perez or Goodwin or Taylor to develop, 2) sign Bourn or Upton next offseason, or 3) offer Jordan Zimmermann for a Peter Bourjos or Brett Gsrdner. The third is the only one that would make a difference this year and would be a HUGE gamble.

  7. Chill Out a Little - Mar 31, 2012 at 9:33 PM

    Rick Ankiel's presence on the team is not a make-or-break issue. Yes it's bad news. But calm down. It's not like we're losing a core player here. Morse has me worried. Storen too. But Ankiel? I like the guy, but he's not going to be the reason we win or lose games this year.

  8. sm13 - Mar 31, 2012 at 9:45 PM

    Chill out has the right attitude. I will lose sleep over Morse and Drew, not Ankiel.

  9. JayB - Mar 31, 2012 at 10:07 PM

    No one is losing sleep over Rick A…..I am pointing out the lost opportunity this team is going to face this year. Using Rich A as a starting CF and then having Roger B and Carrol as your backup….that is a real avoidable problem….should have been taken care of in December.

  10. Rabbit - Mar 31, 2012 at 10:24 PM

    Ankiel is such old news. Just forget about him and move on. Let him take Werth with him. This club will win without either of them.

  11. Anonymous - Mar 31, 2012 at 10:49 PM

    Jay B – there were no centerfielders on the free agent market this year that we should have pursued. Yes, we could have probably traded for one, but would have to give up a lot (sjb's suggestion of trading J. Zimmermann makes me shudder). This year will give the team the opportunity to evaluate the development of one of our center field prospects, including Harper, and if we don't like their development, we can purse a free agent next offseason when the center field market is MUCH stronger. It's what I actually call smart management.Also, you may not like the idea of Bernadina starting, but he has shown flashes at times and although, maybe not a strong starting option right now, he is definitely worthy of being a 4th or 5th outfielder.

  12. JayB - Mar 31, 2012 at 10:59 PM

    They traded everyone they had for Gio….that should have been for CF. FA should have been the pitcher. Before that it should have been M. Bouren…..Braves stole him….it would have been easy to match and top that offer to the Astros….they are just way to passive…windows close much quicker than the open…when they are open you do all you can to win the WS

  13. Anonymous - Mar 31, 2012 at 11:14 PM

    You can't look at what the Astros got from the Braves, but rather what the Astros were asking for – which included Detwiler among other players, which I don't know were ever identified. I personally would rather have Detwiler and get Bourn or someone else as a free agent down the road. Regarding Gonzalez, if he's as good as he was in Oakland, we have a potential trio at the top of the rotation that could be very, very good for a long time. Also, by the way, we did pursue Buerhle (sorry if the spelling is wrong) and if we had got him, we may not have traded for Gonzalez, but is he really worth more than the Marlins gave him? I don't think so. The contract the Angels gave Wilson – too risky.

  14. sjb - Mar 31, 2012 at 11:16 PM

    We can't be sure, but I think it's likely that Rizzo shopped the same package or a similar one for a center fielder, and got nowhere. I think to get a Bourjos or a Gardner would have required an established major leaguer with star potential–Zimmermann, or Storen as in the rumored potential Span deal. And trading a chunk of the future for a year or so of Bourn or Upton made no sense (the Braves did it because they thought they had an immediate shot at a championship, and may yet regret it).

  15. Mark'd - Mar 31, 2012 at 11:51 PM

    Why would Rizzo rush to add Ankiel to the 49 man before determining that he was 100%I see more upside with Chad Tracy.

  16. Anonymous - Apr 1, 2012 at 12:09 AM

    Mark'd, obviously you mean the 40 man.I am also in agreement with JayB as others have discussed the freight paid to get Gio was steep. Rizzo was fixated on Denard Span instead of being in on Michael Bourn. Just another season Rizzo has left a huge void in the outfield. Why is this year different than the past 3 seasons?

  17. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 1, 2012 at 12:44 AM

    Gee….another JayB comment on CF. Wow! I'm shocked.

  18. hmmm... - Apr 1, 2012 at 1:02 AM

    nj in FL: " Wow! I'm shocked."rumor has it that JB doesn't think much of rizzo

  19. JayB - Apr 1, 2012 at 11:32 AM

    almost as shocked as I am I bet that CF is still a huge whole in this team.

  20. Tim - Apr 1, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    A goal with out a plan is a dream. JayB, you keep saying that they should have taken care of this in December. Who are you talking about and at what price?

  21. JayB - Apr 1, 2012 at 8:21 PM

    This goes back years not just this winter….but if I must for the 100th time….Bourne from Astros in July…..then any number of good young CF could have been had for the Gio Trade content. Angles, Yanks, Astros, Twins, all have good young CF types…..Very Least they should have signed A Pagan, J Perrier types…not mike Carmon types to fill in this year….I am not the GM….but I do know for the past 8 years there have been countless CF that would have been better than what Rizzo has put out there.

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