FLUSHING, N.Y., May 13, 2013 - The New York Mets today announced that the club has signed outfielder Rick Ankiel to a major league contract. Ankiel will wear number 16 and will join the Mets tonight in St. Louis. To make room on the 25-man roster, the Mets optioned outfielder Andrew Brown to Las Vegas (AAA) of the Pacific Coast League. To make room on the 40-man roster, New York transferred righthanded pitcher Jenrry Mejia to the 60-Day Disabled List.
Ankiel, 33, was released by the Houston Astros on May 9 of this year after hitting .194 (12-62) with three doubles, five home runs and 11 RBI in 25 games.
The 6-2, 210-pounder hit .228 (36-158) with 10 doubles, five home runs and 15 RBI in 68 games with the Washington Nationals in 2012.
The lefthanded-hitting Ankiel had a career-high 25 home runs and 71 RBI with the Cardinals in 2008.
The Fort Pierce, Fla. native graduated from Port St. Lucie High School and was drafted in the second round by the Cardinals as a lefthanded pitcher in 1999. He was named the Minor League Player of the Year in 1999 by USA Today and Baseball America. Ankiel went 13-10 with a 3.90 ERA (105 earned runs/242.0 innings) in 51 games, 41 starts with the Cardinals from 1999-2001, 2004.
Ankiel was converted into an outfielder in 2005. He has spent time with the Cardinals (1999-2001, 2004, 2007-2009), Royals (2010), Braves (2010), Nationals (2011-2012) and Astros (2013).
He is one of only four players in major league history to make at least 40 starts as a pitcher and hit 40 home runs. The others on that list are Babe Ruth, George Van Haltran and Cy Seymour.
Ankiel has a .979 fielding percentage as an outfielder and has collected 31 career outfield assists, including three this year with Houston.