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NATIONALS: Rick Ankiel To Make Debut, In Center Field Vs. Reds
WASHINGTON – Rick Ankiel said he feels good and is ready for what he considers his opening day when he returns to the Washington Nationals’ lineup Saturday afternoon against Cincinnati.
Ankiel, who began the season on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left quadriceps, will be in center field and bat seventh for the Nationals (6-2), who are a win away from tying the franchise’s best start to a season.
“It’s like the walk-off wonders again,” Ankiel said, referring to the team’s last two extra-innings victories. “It’s been exciting watching, so I’m excited to be here and excited to be back in the big leagues.”
Ankiel, 32, originally experienced the discomfort in a spring training game on March 27. He played in eight games in his rehabilitation assignment, splitting time between Harrisburg, Hagerstown and Syracuse, and went 8-for-20 with a double, three home runs, seven RBIs, five walks and six runs.
“I expect every time the ball gets close to him for him to swing,” Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. “That’s what I expect. He’s an aggressive hitter, a great defender, and it’s good to have him back.”
To make room for Ankiel on the active roster, the Nationals designated Brett Carroll for assignment. Carroll, 29, played in five games, primarily as a pinch runner, and went 0-for-2 at the plate and scored two runs.
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