Results tagged ‘ Rick Ankiel ’
With the final game in the series being an early start and last night’s 11-inning game, manager Trey Hillman faced questions about availability of several key pieces. After attempting a four-out save last night and throwing 32 pitches, Hillman said that closer Joakim Soria’s availability is in question and that no decision will be made until after the first pitch is thrown. Hillman’s preference is not to use Soria for more than three outs in future appearances, but cited that the most important factor is winning ball games.
Another question coming into today’s game is the condition of catcher Jason Kendall following last night’s extra-inning affair. Hillman said Kendall felt good this morning and that fans could expect to see the veteran catcher often in day games after night games.
The other question mark today was how Hillman’s lineup would look with the Royals’ hitters facing the first left-handed starting pitcher of the 2010 season in Dontrelle Willis. Hillman had entertained the idea of starting infielder Mike Aviles at second base in place of Chris Getz. However, Hillman penciled in Getz, saying he has shown excellent consistency in producing quality at bats early in the season. The final change affected by Willis’ start is the five and six slots in the batting order. Hillman said that the switch with outfielders Rick Ankiel and Jose Guillen will be commonplace when facing a left-handed starting pitcher.
Dave Owen was spotted hitting ground balls to Yuniesky Betancourt and Alberto Callaspo.
Players also spent time practicing their bunts. Here you see Rick Ankiel and Wilson Betemit getting their reps.
When we post a Spring Training lineup, you might ask, “why isn’t (insert player name) in the lineup?” Each time the Royals play a road game, a travel roster is assembled. The Royals have 66 players in camp and not all of them can get into the game. Sometimes it makes more sense to have certain players stay in Surprise for a full workout and batting practice. Today, for example, the game is in Tucson, which is about two and a half hours from Surprise. The players can get more work in at the complex. Let’s take a look at today’s workout for the players in Surprise:
On the left, Willie Bloomquist awaits his turn in the cage. On the right, Jose Guillen gets his reps.
Zack Greinke pitched 3.0 scoreless innings in his Spring Training debut as the Royals won 4-2 over Texas on Friday. Rick Ankiel hit a triple and added an outfield assist. Brad Thompson, Ankiel’s teammate in St. Louis, made his Kansas City debut in relief of Greinke. Adam Bostick and Roman Colon held Texas scoreless and Bryan Bullington worked the ninth for the save.
The Royals are gearing up for the spring slate with a pair of intrasquad games. Tuesday’s highlights included David DeJesus going 3-for-3, Rick Ankiel hitting two home runs and Aaron Crow throwing two scoreless frames. Here are some photos:
A powder blue jersey and hat awaited Rick Ankiel at his introductory press conference. He was equally ready for the occasion, with a blue shirt and tie to go with his navy suit. Ankiel was a month shy of 18 when the Cardinals drafted him in 1997. Today, Ankiel officially moved across the state after spending his entire adult life with the Cardinals organization.
The pitcher turned outfielder sees Kansas City as an up and coming organization. He wants to play centerfield everyday. The Marlins, Nationals and Yankees made a push for his services, but the Royals presented him with the opportunity to play centerfield. Ankiel is excited to play alongside an athletic outfield that includes David DeJesus in right and Scott Podsednik in left. He will miss fans and friends in St. Louis, however, a fresh start is on his mind for 2010 after an injury sidetracked him in 2009.
Dayton Moore comments
Dayton Moore wanted to add defense, speed and athleticism this offseason. He sees Ankiel as a special athlete, one who can make the play that fans will love. Moore said that Ankiel and Podsednik were two of the best athletes in the free agent pool. Media members were also welcome to ask Moore about the offseason in general. He noted that the Royals have more pitching depth this year than in the past. He sees a group of players that he trusts to compete and prepare on a day in, day out basis. Moore believes that the core group is in place for 2010 but his staff is always looking at opportunities that arise.
It’s official…the Royals have announced that the club has agreed to a one-year Major League contract for the 2010 season with outfielder Rick Ankiel. The contract also includes a mutual option for 2011. Consistent with club policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed. A corresponding 40-man roster move will be made once the contract has been confirmed.
The 30-year old Ankiel began his Major League career as a decorated left-handed pitcher before converting full-time to the outfield prior to the 2005 season. The left-handed batter is a career .251 hitter with 49 home runs and 157 RBI in 342 games for the St. Louis Cardinals. The 6-foot-1 210-pounder hit .264 in 2008 for St. Louis, belting 25 home runs and joining Babe Ruth as the second player in baseball history to hit 25 or more home runs in a season while having previously started 25 or more games as a pitcher. His 2008 season came on the heels of a breakout 2007 campaign in which he recorded a combined 43 home runs for Triple-A Memphis (32) and St. Louis (11). Ankiel appeared in 122 games for the Cardinals in 2009, hitting .231 with 11 home runs and 38 RBI.
As a pitcher, Ankiel was 11-7 with a 3.50 ERA at the age of 20 in his rookie season of 2000, finishing second in the National League in Rookie of the Year voting (Rafael Furcal-ATL). He was named The Sporting News Rookie Pitcher of the Year, recording 194 strikeouts in 175.0 innings.
Ankiel will be introduced at a press conference later today. Check back for a summary.