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NATIONALS: Rick Ankiel To Be Activated From DL, Play Saturday
WASHINGTON – Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson said outfielder Rick Ankiel will be activated from the disabled list prior to Saturday’s game against Cincinnati and will be in the lineup, playing center field.
Ankiel, who battled a quad injury throughout spring training, opened the season on the disabled list and has been navigating the minor leagues in rehab appearances. He had a workout with the team prior to batting practice on Friday and “looks good to go,” according to Johnson.
“He’s in great shape,” Johnson said of Ankiel, who returned to the team on a minor league deal this offseason. “He had a great rehab program. Did awfully well. I talked to him in the training room earlier and he’s feeling fine.”
A corresponding roster move won’t likely be made until just before Saturday’s game. Johnson said Ankiel will take over as the Nationals’ everyday center fielder – a role he occupied last season, when he hit .239 over 122 games with 37 RBI and nine home runs. He improved in the second half of the season, hitting .263 beginning July 1.
Ankiel’s return to the lineup will displace Roger Bernadina, who has been in center field for all but one of the Nationals’ first seven games. He was also in the lineup in center field for Friday’s game. Bernadina went 3-for-24 entering Friday and struck out seven times.
“He hasn’t walked that much because he’s been chasing balls out of the zone, and the one thing that I told him, at times he gets overaggressive,” Johnson said. “He still, as far as baseball experience goes, he’s still kind of babe in the woods. But he’s got a lot of potential. We haven’t seen the best of it yet. I certainly haven’t given up on him.”
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