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Posted at 06:08 PM ET, 06/16/2011

Rick Ankiel feeling better, return still uncertain


The Nationals are monitoring outfielder Rick Ankiel’s strained intercostal muscle and are hopeful he will not need to be placed on the disabled list for the second time this season. Ankiel received treatment from head athletic trainer Lee Kuntz this afternoon. He said he feels “better,” but is not sure when he will return from the injury, which he suffered Tuesday night.

“I’m checking with these guys every day, making sure we’re all on the same page,” Ankiel said. “But nobody has a crystal ball, so you never know.”

The intercostal strain can lead to significant time missed – that’s what forced Ryan Zimmerman to miss the final 10 games of last year. But Manager Jim Riggleman said Ankiel did not severely strain his muscle.

“He did a smart thing getting out of the game as quickly as he did,” Riggleman said. “Hopefully that precaution there will mean he nixed this thing before it became a problem. … I don’t want to say it’s DL, because I haven’t spoken to the trainer. That’s where other people have gone [with the injury]. I think those other guys swung the bat and really hurt themselves. Rick felt a little something and realized, ‘I’m not going to be able to swing the bat tonight.’ Hopefully, we caught it before he did anything.’ ”

Ankiel missed three weeks earlier this year after he sprained his wrist trying to make a diving catch in center field. He said it’s frustrating to deal with another injury, “but we’re playing well, so that’s all that matters.”

By  |  06:08 PM ET, 06/16/2011

 
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