The New York Mets signed Rick Ankiel and started him in center field on Monday night against the St. Louis Cardinals, the team that converted him from wild lefty` to outfielder.
The 33-year-old thought it a bit comforting that he returned to the majors in St. Louis, where he arrived as a hard-throwing lefty starter in 1999 but couldn't control his pitches. He's been an outfielder since 2005 and hit a career-best 25 homers with 71 RBIs with St. Louis in 2008.
''Obviously, I've played here in Busch Stadium quite a bit, and it's just kind of ironic the first game back is here in St. Louis,'' Ankiel said. ''But it'll be fun and I'm excited to get out there.''
Also, the Mets said three days' rest was prescribed for closer Frank Francisco, who had been close to returning from rehabilitation before getting scratched from a bullpen session Saturday. Francisco was diagnosed with a mild strain of the flexor pronator in his surgically-repaired right elbow.
''I guess you could say it's a mi...