In what was merely a formality, Washington announced Friday afternoon that outfielder Rick Ankiel was officially released by the organization. He had been designated for assignment just a week ago.
Ankiel returned to the Nationals on a one year, $1.25 Million contract this past offseason with the hope that he’d be able to offer some production from center field while the team continues to search for a long term answer there. Ankiel struggled at the plate, batting just .228/.282/.411 on the year through 171 plate appearances. Given the emergence of other options, Washington no longer had room to keep him on the roster. The New York Yankees were rumored at one point to have some mild interest in Ankiel, but that idea vanished once the team acquired Ichiro Suzuki from the Seattle Mariners earlier this week.
Ankiel is now free to sign with any team.