Former pitcher-turned-outfielder Rick Ankiel, who has been working toward a return to the mound, will be delayed in his effort after undergoing elbow surgery. As Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports, a procedure was performed to fix damage to Ankiel’s ulnar collateral ligament.
Since Ankiel avoided a full-blown UCL replacement, he won’t require a year-or-more rehabilitation timetable. Still, he’ll be sidelined for quite a while. Per Goold, the estimate is that he’ll be ready to go by the middle of the 2019 season.
Despite the setback, the 39-year-old will not give up on his effort to make yet another stirring comeback. Ankiel had been working out at the Cardinals’ spring facility and clearly has the full support of the organization. President of baseball operations John Mozeliak says that the club remains interested in discussing a contract when Ankiel is ready to resume his march back toward the majors.