St. Louis Cardinals: Rick Ankiel recovering from elbow surgery
By Trevor Hooth
Former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher and outfielder Rick Ankiel had his comeback effort slowed by elbow surgery.
This is only significant to the St. Louis Cardinals because they were considering bringing him back. In fact, Derrick Goold writes there was a possibility for Rick Ankiel to get an invite to Spring Training in order to earn that chance.
It is more than just the Spring Training invite, Goold reports that the Cardinals do plan on reaching a deal with Ankiel. He did successfully return as a hitter, but the southpaw has not thrown a professional pitch since 2004.
What Was The Surgery?
Ankiel had a surgery that was first brought to the public eye by Seth Maness. It is an alternative to Tommy John that is supposed to cut down on the time it takes to make it back from a torn UCL. The operation is called Primary Repair.
Because of this set back, the discussions between the St. Louis Cardinals and Ankiel will have to picked up after the season starts. Goold estimates it will be in May. Until then, the pitching hopeful will be rehabbing at the Cardinals complex in Florida.
While the St. Louis Cardinals are in desperate need of a left handed reliever out of the bullpen, I’m not sure the 39 year old Ankiel is the right call. Luckily, he was never the answer in any eyes anyway.
As a fan, I appreciate the dedication to former players. Plus it would not be expensive. However, it just would seem too much like a publicity stunt than a true baseball decision.
Don’t get me wrong here, I love Ankiel. The heart it took for him to remake himself as a hitter is one of the best stories of heart in all of sports. And he is coming back for reasons that will melt your heart. According to Goold this comeback is at least partly fueled by the desire for his kids to see him play.
The good news is that no one in the front office, or watching from home, believes this is the move that was going to be made to solve the problem. This is just a team, or even just a former employer, trying to do right by a player who gave so much to them.
The St. Louis Cardinals do love bringing back their former players. This seems to be a situation where they are giving a chance, and I have no issue with that.