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Rick Ankiel, Washington Nationals Sign Deal; My Pitching Comeback Hopes Dashed Again

Rick Ankiel, the St. Louis Cardinals' ex-Natural (is there a better Baseball-Reference sponsorship than this The National reference? Okay, okay, aside from Tim Raines?) has signed with the Washington Nationals, and for guaranteed money, too—one year, $1.5 to $2.75 million. This major league contract ruins my long-term baseball fantasy, which is that Ankiel, who's struggled with the bat since his 2008 renaissance with the Cardinals, realizes he's no longer wanted as an outfielder and comes back as a pitcher. 

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It would be like the never-awaited sequel to The Natural: Roy Hobbs, banned by doctors from swinging a bat, returns to the New York Knights as a pitcher, under a new identity, until the Whammer's eidetic memory of pitching styles and a baseball gambling ring run by Freemasons threatens to tear the whole thing apart. Maybe then people would finally look at my screenplay...

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Ankiel's comeback in 2007 will always remain one of the most exciting moments of my baseball life, no matter what he ends up doing for the rest of his career. But given his struggles in 2009 and 2010 I think it would behoove Ankiel and the Nationals, not to mention my taste for comeback stories on top of comeback stories, if this Spring Training he took a long look at the pitching mound. Hey: Brooks Kieschnick could do it.

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