The St. Louis Cardinals dropped from 41 players in their Major League camp down to 39 when outfielder Rick Ankiel was assigned to Memphis and left-handed pitcher Randy Keisler was optioned to Minor League camp following Sunday’s contest.
Ankiel, 27, was not expected to stick with the big club, coming off a 2006 that was ruined due to injury. More than once, manager Tony La Russa complimented the former high-potential starting pitcher, but at the same time stressed the need for Ankiel to play in the outfield regularly. That clearly wouldn’t happen in St. Louis, at least yet.
No 40-man roster move is required, as Ankiel had already been removed last fall and was in camp as a non-roster invitee. He drove in the winning run in Sunday’s game against the New York Mets with a sacrifice fly. Overall, Ankiel went 8-for-29, .276, this spring with two doubles, a home run and five RBI. He walked once, struck out three times and did not commit an error in the field.
Keisler, 31, was signed last fall as a free agent and was added to the 40-man roster. He signed a split contract that will pay him $110,000 while in the minors. He had been designed for assignment by Oakland last August and was sent outright to Triple A.
This spring, the left-hander held opponents to a .111 batting average while allowing a single unearned run in eight innings over four games. He fanned five and walked only one.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com.
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