Rick Ankiel had been in an Astros uniform three hours when it clicked.
At 8:35 a.m. Tuesday, he quietly snuck into his new team’s locker room, wearing shorts and a T-shirt, texting while giving his first interview.
“I multi-task. I’ve got kids,” said the 33-year-old Ankiel.
By 11:30 a.m., he was in right field in the back corner of the Astros’ spring-training complex, sharply turning his torso before running down long flies, then placing both hands on his knees in his trademark “ready” stance.
Fifteen minutes later, Ankiel was at the plate. He bunted three balls, cracked former Astros interim manager Tony DeFrancesco’s batting-practice pitches and then dug in. DeFrancesco tossed a softy; Ankiel parked it. The ball soared, drawing his young teammates’ eyes upward and landing past the right-field fence Ankiel once patrolled.
The shot felt good and looked good. Ankiel had clubbed his first practice home run as an Astro. Except first-year manager Bo Porter, who coached Ankiel the last two seasons in Washington, took it back.
“You know that’s a foul ball, right?” Porter joked.
Astros’ Rick Ankiel keeps playing baseball on his own terms
Houston Chronicle | Feb 15