The Cardinals purchased the contract of Rick Ankiel from AAA Memphis and expect to have him in the starting lineup and playing the outfield tonight when they take on the Padres.
This is a great story. We all know of his breakdown early in his career during the playoffs against the Braves and Mets. As the Game 1 starter of the NLDS against the Braves, Ankiel walked six batters and threw five wild pitches. In another postseason appearance against the Mets, the young lefty threw four more wild pitches in 1 1/3 innings. After missing the 2002 season and chunks of the 2003 and 2004 seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery, Ankiel pondered calling it quits, but decided to give the outfield a shot after talking with GM Walt Jocketty.
Ankiel was batting .267 with a league-leading 32 homers and 89 RBIs in 102 games at Memphis. Matt Gifford is the General Manager of the Springfield Cardinals. He witnessed first hand the hard work and dedication that Ankiel put into battling his way back.
To hear his thoughts, click on the link.