The former southpaw prodigy has always had a sweet swing. "The kid can hit," says Astros second baseman Craig Biggio. "He's got a lot of natural talent." Indeed, Ankiel smacked 10 homers in 105 at bats as a DH for the Cards' rookie league team in 2001. In his first intrasquad at bat as an outfielder, last Thursday, he lined a single up the middle off minor league pitcher Brad Thompson. Three days later he struck out in his only at bat, as a pinch hitter against Eddy Rodriguez of the Orioles.
GARY I. ROTHSTEIN/REUTERS (ANKIEL)
THE TOPPS COMPANY INC. (MENDOZA)