Astros Release Rick Ankiel

The Astros released outfielder Rick Ankiel, tweets Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle.  The team had designated him for assignment Monday.

Ankiel, 33, had an all-or-nothing approach this year that led to five home runs and 35 strikeouts in 65 plate appearances.  A former second-round pick of the Cardinals, Ankiel finished second in the 2000 Rookie of the Year voting as a pitcher but later reinvented himself as a slugging outfielder in 2007.  A left-handed hitter, he has a career slugging percentage of .445 against righties.

We're still awaiting word on outfielder Fernando Martinez, who was designated by the Astros at the same time as Ankiel.

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