A name was added to the chalkboard near Pfitzner Stadium's entrance that details all the former Cannons who are currently in the major leagues.
Pitcher Rick Ankiel, who spent most of last season with the Cannons, made his major-league debut for the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday night. Ankiel gave up three runs and struck out six in five innings, but received a no-decision in a game St. Louis eventually lost, 11-7.
Cannons Manager Joe Cunningham said he was not surprised that Ankiel, 20, was already in the major leagues.
"Rick was a nice kid who came in here and worked hard, plus he had a lot of talent," Cunningham said. "He always listened to what the coaches said. If he pitched poorly, he did not get riled up. He learned from it, made some adjustments and moved on."
Though Ankiel has moved on, Potomac's players and fans have not forgotten him. There was a lot of interest in his first start--Potomac's public address announcer even provided periodic updates on Ankiel's start during the Cannons game that night.
Ankiel, who is scheduled to pitch tonight against Atlanta in a nationally televised game on ESPN, is not the only member of last year's Cannons team in the major leagues. Cardinals infielder Adam Kennedy, who also spent most of last season with Potomac, is 6 for 19 (.316) with three doubles, a triple and four RBI in five games with the Cardinals.
Cunningham said that he does not have the time to speak with Ankiel or Kennedy during the season but that he looks forward to catching up during spring training.
"I am too busy here and I know they are really busy up there," Cunningham said. "But it will be fun to catch up then."
Then he looked around the team's quiet locker room and said, "It is hard to believe they were down here just last year."
All Over the Field
Cannons infielder Aaron Gentry had been asking Cunningham for more playing time, but Cunningham's answer before the team's 8-1 loss to Frederick on Tuesday was a surprise.
Gentry played center field that night--his first game in the outfield this season--after regular starting outfielder Jason Lee injured his right hand when he was hit by a pitch during Monday night's 7-0 victory over the Keys.
Lee's injury left Potomac with only two regular outfielders after William Ortega was promoted to Class AA Arkansas recently.
Gentry recorded four putouts, including a running catch to rob Frederick's Roberto Rivera of a base hit in the ninth inning. At the plate, Gentry doubled in four at-bats.
Gentry's tour of the diamond continued Wednesday night, when he made his second pitching appearance of the season in an 18-3 loss at Wilmington. He pitched the final inning, giving up two hits and two unearned runs, with one walk and no strikeouts.
CAPTION: Cardinal Adam Kennedy is also a former Cannon.
CAPTION: In his major-league debut with the Cardinals on Monday, former Cannon Rick Ankiel gave up three runs and struck out six in five innings.