Rick Ankiel went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in his debut for the New York Mets, a 6-3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in which he also had a bloop hit bounce out of his borrowed glove in center field.
Ankiel agreed on a contract with the Mets yesterday, one week after being cut by the Houston Astros while batting .194.
Ankiel, a 33-year-old former pitcher whose lack of control forced him to leave the game in 2004 and return in 2007 as an outfielder, started in center field yesterday and hit seventh in the Mets’ lineup. Ankiel’s equipment didn’t arrive in St. Louis from Houston and he had a ball pop out of a glove belonging to Mets pitcher Jonathon Niese as he tried to make a diving catch on a double by Ty Wigginton to lead off the seventh inning.
The Cardinals went on to score three runs in the inning to snap a 3-3 tie.
“I don’t want to make excuses. I do think if I have my glove, it stays in there,” Ankiel told reporters. “But I’m the type of person that I feel like if I got a glove on it, I should have caught it.”
Ankiel’s five home runs in 25 games for the Astros matched his total from last season, when he batted .228 in 68 contests for the Washington Nationals. He joined the Mets as a .243 career batter with 74 homers, including a high of 25 in 2008.
The Mets are 14-21, in fourth place in the National League East, six games behind the division-leading Atlanta Braves. They’re 4-12 in their last 16 Major League Baseball games.