Jun 26, 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Washington Nationals center fielder Rick Ankiel (24) and first baseman Adam LaRoche (25) high five after their victory over the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. The Nationals defeated the Rockies by a score of 12-5. Mandatory Credit: Andrew B. Fielding-US PRESSWIRE
"I really like [Rick] Ankiel," Davey Johnson explained after the team DFA'd the veteran outfielder to make room on the roster for 24-year-old reliever Drew Storen last week. "I was trying to get him here three years ago," the manager continued, "One year ahead of when he came over here, but with the maturation process of some of the young players, [Bryce] Harper in particular, playing every day, [Michael] Morse coming back, [Steve Lombardozzi] doing a good job leading off and [Jayson] Werth... looks pretty good to me, he's getting close... it felt like... and I've got a left-handed bat down in Triple-A that can do some of things that Rick [can]... maybe not as good a defender, but maybe a better hitter in Corey Brown. But to have to replace a guy in my bullpen with some people I've got down there. No, I don't have it. So, it was a tough choice, but it was the right choice."
"'When you look at the makeup bench, he was the logical candidate,'" D.C. GM Mike Rizzo told the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore.
The Nationals designated Ankiel for assignment last week. This afternoon the Nats unconditionally released the 33-year-old, 10-year-veteran who put up a .236/.292/.377 line with 30 doubles and 14 HR's in 190 games and 586 plate appearances with Washington.
The Nationals have unconditionally released OF Rick Ankiel.— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) July 27, 2012