Publish date:

ANKIEL WATCH

Plagued by wildness and injuries as a pitcher, 25-year-old Rick Ankiel is trying to make the Cardinals as an outfielder. How's he doing? SI's Ankielometer tells all.
Author:

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.

COLOR PHOTO

GARY I. ROTHSTEIN/REUTERS (ANKIEL)

COLOR PHOTO

THE TOPPS COMPANY INC. (MENDOZA)

MENDOZA

B/W PHOTO

AP (MANTLE)

MANTLE