Ankiel ready to play where needed
Cardinals outfielder takes questions from fans online
During a live Web chat with fans Tuesday, St. Louis outfielder Rick Ankiel talked about moving from the mound to the outfield, his physical condition, what he thinks of Cardinals fans and why you should draft him in your fantasy league.
Ankiel: Hey everybody, this is Rick. I'm ready to chat, so lets go.
wardsp: How do you like the Babe Ruth comparisons?
Ankiel: To even be mentioned in the same sentence as Babe Ruth is an honor.
wardsp: What position do you find more difficult -- right field or center field?
Ankiel: I find them equally challenging for different reasons. Center you get a better jump on the ball, but you have more ground to cover.
vetrano: Do you like pitching or hitting better?
Ankiel: Hitting for sure. I like being on the field every day versus once a week pitching.
vetrano: Would you ever go back to pitching?
Ankiel: No chance. See above.
wardsp: What did you learn from Jim Edmonds?
Ankiel: Jimmy has been so good for so long, it's hard not to pick up good habits from watching him. He always has great advice to offer, whether it be in the box hitting or out in the outfield.
superseve: Hi, I'm from Italy and I wish you all the best for this season! Who will hit more home runs -- you or Chris Duncan? Make us dream! Go Cards!
Ankiel: Chris and I have been working out most of the offseason together and we've had that same discussion. He asked how many I thought we would hit between the two of us and I said 60 -- I told him I would hit 40 and he'll hit 20 ... Ha Ha.
kcbf: What's your favorite restaurant in St. Louis?
Ankiel: Busch's Grove is outstanding.
ank_da_man: Ank, how does it feel to be slated as a starter at the Major League level again so many years after your fall?
Ankiel: Nice screen name! It's an awesome feeling to get the opportunity to be a starter after all the hard work and proving I can be an everyday outfielder.
bman231: What has been your biggest achievement in your baseball career so far?
Ankiel: Making it back to the big leagues as an outfielder.
onfia: What is your favorite hobby off the field?
Ankiel: Fishing! Check out RickAnkielOnline.com to see some great fishing photos.
stpetemo: Congratulations on last year's comeback. It was good to see you in a Cardinals uniform. How do you see the new outfield coming together with Jim Edmonds departure?
Ankiel: Jimmy's departure leaves some big shoes to fill, but the guys we have are very talented and once given the chance, will get the job done.
gemacards1: Do you love playing in St. Louis?
Ankiel: Yes! I love playing in St Louis. Cardinals fans are the best in the world.
chaday21: Are you expecting to play center or right field this year?
Ankiel: I enjoy center the most, but I will play wherever I'm needed.
stpetemo: How well do you think Johan Santana will do in the National League?
Ankiel: He is an amazing talent, he will do well anywhere.
skimmi0012: Outside of St. Louis, what are your favorite places to play?
Ankiel: Anywhere the ball carries well.
dmoney2008: Rick, want to start off by saying how proud we all are of you. You made it and fought through the bad times. I am so happy for you. Keep on fighting. Wishing you and the Cards an awesome 2008! With much admiration, from one of your fans in Colorado.
Ankiel: Thank you. Much appreciated.
Snuggles: Are you happy Tony La Russa is staying for another 2 years?
Ankiel: Absolutely. We have developed a great relationship over the years and I have a tremendous amount of respect for him.
Brosnan27: What is the better feeling -- blazing a fastball by a hitter to strike him out or blasting a home runs into the right field stands?
Ankiel: Striking out someone was fun, but hitting homers rocks.
cardsfn1: I know this is not a question, but I just would like to say that you are an inspiration to any child who thinks that if their first dream did not work out, to find a new dream and start over.
Ankiel: Thank you, that means a lot.
crash_7: What was the most difficult thing for you going from pitcher to outfielder?
Ankiel: Getting my body physically ready to play every day.
redbirdmom: Just wanted to let you know that we are proud of you! We miss you in Memphis. How is your knee?
Ankiel: Thanks! The knee is doing great.
stlcard38: How old are you? Are you married and do you have any kids?
Ankiel: I am 28 and married, no kids yet.
tollini: Who was the toughest pitcher you faced in 2007?
Ankiel: Brad Penny.
Ranscozi: What age did you begin to play baseball and did you begin in a YMCA league or Little League?
Ankiel: I started in T-ball and haven't stopped since.
cardsjd: How would you describe the support of the fans in St. Louis?
Ankiel: The fans in St Louis are like a second family to me. There are none better.
knup: How involved are you with the Internet? Do you have your own Web site? Do you blog?
Ankiel: I don't blog, but I have just launched RickAnkielOnline.com, check it out.
onfia: What position did you grow up playing?
Ankiel: Outfield and first base.
johnginder: What is the main reason I should draft you in my fantasy league?
Ankiel: Cause I do damage!
Ankiel: Thanks everyone, till the next time. See you at the ballpark.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.