The Mets have signed Rick Ankiel and he will start in center field Monday night against the Cardinals. Andrew Brown was sent down to make room for him.
Ankiel was released from the Astros — the Astros!! — last week after batting .194 with five home runs and 11 RBIs in 62 at bats. He also struck out a whopping 35 times. His numbers will fit in nicely with those of Ike Davis and Lucas Duda.
Ankiel, of course, started his career as a pitcher and had an excellent rookie year for St. Louis that culminated in the playoffs against the Mets in 2000 when he suddenly forgot how to throw the ball. He reinvented himself as an outfielder and his comeback was the feel-good story of 2007. However those good feelings went away when it was revealed that he had received a shipment of HGH.
Rick Ankiel hit 25 and 11 home runs in 2008 and 2009, respectively, but hasn’t topped 10 homers since. The 33-year-old Ankiel is a solid defensive outfielder with a rocket for an arm.
It should be noted that his Astros teammates were very upset when he was released; apparently he was a leader in the clubhouse.
This isn’t a terrible move by the Mets. Really, they have nothing to lose. The Mets shouldn’t expect anything in the way of a high batting average from Rick Ankiel, but if he can hit a home run every now and then and provide good defense, then he’s no worse than anyone else the Mets have tried in the outfield.