The Nationals designated Rick Ankiel for assignment this afternoon to make room on the roster for Drew Storen, which will most likely end his time in Washington.
The emergence of Tyler Moore, recent solid play from Roger Bernadina, the return of Mark DeRosa from the DL along with Jayson Werth and Chad Tracy poised to return from the DL in the next few week all played a part in this decision.
After Bryce Harper was called up and Michael Morse returned from the DL, Ankiel saw his playing time decrease to that of a spot starter and a late game defensive substitution. His struggles at the plate –batting just .218 since the beginning of May – didn’t help him either.
Once Werth returns, the rotation in the outfield will feature Werth, Harper and Morse as the starters with Bernadina, Moore, DeRosa and Tracy as options off the bench. Bernadina has shown over the course of his career that the main strength of his game is in the field, and while he doesn’t have the arm that Ankiel does he is faster and has more range. Take away a rough April at the dish and Bernie’s averaging close to .300 since the beginning of May and has been dynamite in pinch hitting situations over the past few weeks.
Most Nats fans, including myself, will be sad to see Ankiel go. He became a fan favorite over the past season and a half in DC due in a large part to his laser-rocket arm (another good one here), and occasional tape measure home run.
This move is just another indication that the Nationals are a solid team, as good teams sometimes have to cut quality players due to a lack of room on the bench. I’m sure Ankiel will wind up on a major league roster soon and deservedly so.
I would love to see him take the ticket to Syracuse, but doubt we are that lucky.