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In St. Louis, a Pitcher in the Outfield?

Thursday, March 10, 2005; Page D08

Rick Ankiel is ending a pitching career hampered by injuries and epic wildness and will try to make St. Louis's roster as an outfielder.

Ankiel had yet to appear in a spring training game as he tried to revive a career interrupted by control problems and reconstructive elbow surgery. He was to have pitched in a "B" game yesterday, but it was rained out. Ankiel, 25, said he has been thinking of switching since leaving winter ball in Puerto Rico after feeling a twinge in his elbow. He was impressive his first time throwing to hitters this spring, but outings since have been erratic.

Rick Ankiel is ending his pitching career and will try to make the Cardinals' roster as an outfielder. (Rick Bowmer - AP)

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"It just became apparent that it was time for me to move on and pursue becoming an outfielder," Ankiel said. "I feel relieved now and I'm happy to move on."

Ankiel is a career .207 hitter in the majors.

Pitching coach Dave Duncan said he didn't know of the decision until yesterday. "I've been trying to get him ready to pitch," Duncan said.

Ankiel made it to the major leagues at 19 and was 11-7 with a 3.50 ERA with 194 strikeouts in 175 innings in 2000 but developed record-setting wildness in the playoffs.

He went 1-2 with a 7.13 ERA in six starts in 2001, but missed the 2002 season and most of 2003 and 2004 with elbow problems.

-- From News Services


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