Rick Ankiel pitching for the St. Louis Cardinals.

(Photo by cdm – USA Today Sports images)

39-Year-Old Rick Ankiel Looked Great in Return to Pitching Mound

He only faced one batter, but the former Cardinals lefty struck him on an elevated fastball.

August 02, 2018 - 12:20 pm
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It was one-and-done for Rick Ankiel's return to a piching mound this week. The former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher-turned-outfielder is playing in a exhibition tournament with former MLB All-Stars and Hall of Famers against collegiate All-Star teams from around the U.S. Ankiel is listed as an outfielder on the roster, but was apparently convinced to get back on the mound for one batter. 

Ankiel struck out the right-handed hitter on a 1-2 fastball that ran up and out of the zone. Then he seemed to signal to manager Johnny Bench that he was done.

Although his 11-year MLB career ended in 2013, he hasn't been on a MLB mound since 2004. 

Related story: Ankiel Recalls His 'Greatest Outfield Throws' & Unexpected Reaction By La Russa

Here's video of the strikeout:

The real treat would be to see if Ankiel was able to still spin a curveball like he was know to do in the early 2000s. In his first full MLB season he finished second in the NL Rookie of the Year voting, with an 11-7 record and 194 strikeouts in 175 innings. Batters would say you could hear the snap of Ankiel's fingers when he would spin off a particular nasty uncle charlie. 

Ankiel is playing in the Bluegrass World Series at Louisville Slugger Field in Louisville, Ky. His team of former MLB players includes Hall of Famers Bench and Chipper Jones and players like Jake Peavy, David Ross, Tim Hudson, Roy Oswalt, Nick Swisher, Jason Marquis, JD Drew and others. The Louisville Stars, as they're called, got a 15-3 win on Wednesday night and are off to a 2-0 start. 

Check out more about the Bluegrass World Series, here.