August 3, 2018 / 4:41 PM / 15 days ago

Ankiel, 39, aiming for comeback as reliever

Rick Ankiel hasn’t played in the majors since 2013 and hasn’t pitched since 2004, but he’s reportedly hoping to defy both of those things and make a comeback.

FILE PHOTO: Houston Astros' Rick Ankiel (R) greets team mates Matt Dominguez and Justin Maxwell at home plate after the three scored on Ankiel's home run in the sixth inning against the Texas Rangers during their MLB American League baseball game in Houston March 31, 2013. REUTERS/Richard Carson

Ankiel, who turned 39 in July, would like to return as a reliever, according to a Yahoo Sports report.

“I have nothing to lose,” said Ankiel, per Yahoo. “I’m not afraid. I might as well try.”

Ankiel entered the league as a pitcher, but moved on to the outfield after “yips” derailed his pitching career. He’s been working with others who have struggled with it since retiring.

Playing among other retired stars in the Bluegrass World Series this week, Ankiel has shown flashes of his former self.

Wednesday, after already going 2-for-4 at the plate and driving in four runs, Ankiel took the mound in the seventh inning and struck out the only batter he faced, ending it on an 89 mph fastball for strike three.

While a comeback at his age seems unlikely — Bartolo Colon and Fernando Rodney are among the active pitchers who are older than Ankiel — he has plenty of incentive to try.

“My kids have never seen me play, never seen me pitch,” Ankiel, who has two young sons, said. “And I feel like I’m in a better place.”

—Field Level Media

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