August 8, 2020

FORMER NATS: Rick Ankiel is Raising Money for Diabetes

Former Washington Nationals Outfielder Rick Ankiel is raising money to Cure Diabetes. Donations can be made on his fundraising page for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

(h/t to @stephaniekays)

Nationals outfielder Rick Ankiel – San Diego Padres v. Washington Nationals, 5/15/2012. (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Washington Nationals activate Drew Storen from DL, designate Rick Ankiel

Nats Closer Drew Storen pitching in 2011 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

The Washington Nationals will activate relief pitcher Drew Storen from the disabled list, after missing all of the season so far with surgery to remove bone chips from his pitching elbow. In a corresponding move, the Nats will designate for assignment veteran outfielder Rick Ankiel.

Ankiel hit .228/.282/.411 in 68 games for the Nats this season, but has been the forgotten man of late with just six plate appearances in the month of July. He had seven base hits since June 1.

Storen, 24, went 6-3 with a 2.75 ERA last season with 43 saves for the Nationals. He pitched with discomfort during spring training until it was revealed he had loose bodies in his pitching elbow. The Nats tried to alleviate the issue with anti-inflammatories to start with, but surgery was eventually required. He’s been on a rehab assignment the past two weeks with various affiliates, and Monday night pitched a perfect inning for Harrisburg, striking out two.

The Nats also expect to recall catcher Sandy Leon from Harrisburg today to take the roster spot of Jhonatan Solano, who will be placed on the 15-day D.L. with a strained oblique.

The Nats face the New York Mets at 12:35 pm today.

NATS: Happy Birthday, Rick Ankiel

HAPPY 33rd BIRTHDAY RICK ANKIEL!

Washington Nationals Outfielder Rick Ankiel was born on 07/19/1979 in Fort Pierce, Florida. Happy Birthday #24!

Rick Ankiel signing an autograph for a fan during Washington Nationals Photo Day, 7/07/2012. (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Nationals outfielder Rick Ankiel and his son during “Kids Run the Bases” after the game – New York Yankees v. Washington Nationals, 6/17/2012. (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Nationals outfielder Rick Ankiel – San Diego Padres v. Washington Nationals, 5/15/2012. (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Washington Nationals Weekend Roundup: Bats bust out in sweep of Braves

The Washington Nationals sit atop the N.L. East so far this season mostly on the strength of their pitching staff, most notably their dominant starting pitching. But in sweeping three straight from division rival Atlanta Braves over the weekend, the Nats hitters served notice that as the weather starts to warm up, they too can contribute to the winning ways.

The Nationals scored 22 runs in three games, besting the fourth-place Braves by the count of 7-4 Friday night, 8-4 Saturday and 7-2 Sunday. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 43 Review: Nats win 5-2 for sixth straight victory in Philly

The nine-game road trip the Washington Nationals have embarked on here in the last week of May is going to go a long way to proving if the Nats are going to be competitive in the N.L. East this season, with a succession of three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins.

So far, so good. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 31 Review: Strasburg Ks 13 in 4-2 win over Bucs

The Washington Nationals ended a three-game losing streak, avoiding a sweep by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the process, as Stephen Strasburg struck out 13 and the Nats pounded three home runs en route to a 4-2 victory before 15,381 at PNC Park.

Roger Bernadina and Adam LaRoche both homered in the sixth inning to give the Nats the lead, and Rick Ankiel added an insurance run in the top of the ninth. [Read more…]

Injuries starting to pile up for Washington Nationals

Michael Morse’s right lat muscle. Adam LaRoche’s left foot. Drew Storen’s forearm soreness.

If you’re a fatalistic Washington Nationals fan, these three things are keeping you up at night. Add in Rick Ankiel and Chien-Ming Wang’s sore hammies and it’s almost enough to question your belief system.

That’s right, we’re still two weeks from Opening Day, but there are enough nagging injuries around the Nationals clubhouse to give even the sunniest of fans pause.

Let’s start with the most ominous. Drew Storen hadn’t pitched in a game in two weeks since two early appearances. The storyline was just other pitchers getting work; that Storen — the established closer — didn’t need to prove himself. Then this week we learn than not only did he have strep throat keeping him out of ballgames the past week, but that he’s dealt with “soreness in his biceps and triceps” according to The Washington Post. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Spring Training Postcards: A late bloomer’s first spring training experience

by Brett Geranen (@NotOwenMeany), Special to District Sports Page

I’m still lobster-red from the Florida sun and haven’t even washed my souvenir Spring Training mug or t-shirt, but I’m already trying to convince friends to attend Spring Training next year. I’m a pretty late bloomer, as baseball fans go, but I’ve fallen in love with the game, and with the Washington Nationals.

When people ask, I tell them my three games in four days are an over-exposed blur of faces I recognize (“There’s Zimmerman!”), great seats, the buzz of hopeful fans, my own foul ball, and the haze of sunscreen in my eyes. In trying to convince them that we should go next year, I tell them all of the stuff I’d think they’d want to hear: See players warming up on the practice field and they’ll walk right by you! You can sit in the second row behind home plate for $26! Multiple starting pitchers splitting innings! I praise the access, the warm temps, the easy parking, cheap hotels, and beaches. Hey, Kennedy Space Center is right down the road for an off day!

I sat no more than 15 feet from Ryan Zimmerman, Danny Espinosa, and Jayson Werth while they fiddled with their batting gloves in the on-deck circle. I got great photos of Edwin Jackson warming up, Tyler Clippard (Clippard!) throwing right at me, and Bryce Harper scoring (hope to see that soon, and often, at Nats Park!). I got to give my own personal standing ovation to Wilson Ramos in appreciation for his safe return.

Tyler Clippard delivers against the Tigers at Space Coast Stadium. (photo courtesy Brett Geranen)

For those reasons, I suggest you (and my friends, if any of you read this) go to Spring Training!

But, as great as all of that was, none of it was my favorite part of the experience. Background first before we get to my highlight. One of the Nats I have most loved to root for has been Rick Ankiel. Ankiel’s well-documented flame-out as a pitcher and successful struggle to rebuild himself as an outfielder is one of my favorite stories. I’d stay awake for a Ken Burns’ documentary on that.

One play from the 2011 season that gives me goose bumps is from last Aug. 28. The Reds and Nats were tied in the bottom of the ninth with one out. Dave Sappelt drives a ball between Werth in right and Ankiel in center. Werth’s effort is just short and the ball goes off the wall. Sappelt sees that Ankiel has overrun it as well and decides to stretch it to third. Ankiel barehands the ball and throws a laser to Brian Bixler at third. There’s an interminable second-long wait while the umpire circles around…sees that Bixler held onto the ball and calls Sappelt out! I love that play! Watch it again here.

I was glad to hear that Ankiel was invited back to Nationals camp. I was sorry to hear that he had a sore hamstring and likely wouldn’t play during our visit.

On our last day of spring training (Sunday, March 18), my girlfriend dropped me at the park extra early. There were players on the outside practice field, tossing balls and taking short rounds of batting practice. Part of a small crowd pressed up against the fence while the other part made a polite, orderly line where the players would pass from the practice field to the stadium.

In addition to being an Ankiel fan, I’m also a melancholy guy by nature. There’s only so much optimism and sunshine I can take in four days. I was having fun, but wasn’t in the mood to stand in line for autographs.

The players worked their way off of the field and the crowd melted away. I was standing in the (rare) shade near the practice field bench by myself. A few players or coaches were all that were left on the field. I noticed someone jog down the first base line. It was Rick Ankiel.

He walked back to the batter’s box, mimed a swing and jogged down to first. He did this again. And again, a little faster. Testing that hamstring. The other two players/coaches/trainers studiously pretended not to watch too closely. About the fourth or fifth time down the line, he turned for second. He walked back to home, mimed another swing, and again rounded the bag to second. He did this a few more times, until he, or the observers, had seen enough and they all ambled off the field.

My favorite part of Spring Training was watching a 32 year old, “non-roster invitee” test his hamstring in hopes of being well enough to play until a 19 year-old phenom comes up and takes his roster spot. I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

Rick Ankiel testing hammy on a back field at Nats training complex. (photo courtesy Brett Geranen)

Nationals sign Rick Ankiel to minor league deal

According to multiple reports, the Washington Nationals signed free agent outfielder Rick Ankiel to a  minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.  Ankiel, 32, spent 2011 with the Nats, hitting .239/.296/.363 with nine home runs and 37 RBIs in 122 games.  The nine-year veteran has hit .246/.309/.423 for his career. [Read more…]

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