Former major league pitcher Rick Ankiel, 27, is trying to make it back to the Cardinals as an outfielder. How's he doing? SI's Ankielometer tells all.
ANKIEL WAS mired in a nasty slump (nine strikeouts in his last 13 at bats) when he and the Class AAA Memphis Redbirds arrived in Des Moines last Friday for a four-game series against the Iowa Cubs. But a few days in corn country got him back on track. Ankiel hit his 16th home run of the season in a 4-1 win on Friday, then busted out with three solo homers—his first career hat trick—and a single in another win on Saturday. Ankiel finished the weekend tied for the Pacific Coast League lead in home runs (19), second in slugging (.606) and tied for fourth in RBIs (52). (He is batting .282.) Ankiel, who like most hitters studies video of all his at bats, now has some serious highlights to look at next time he slumps. "I want to know what I'm doing right when things are going right," he told The Des Moines Register, "so when things are going wrong, I'll have something to compare it to."