The Nationals sign Rick Ankiel

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They’ve let Adam Dunn walk and have traded Josh Willingham.  They signed Jayson Werth to a mega-deal that he will never come close to justifying. Now the Nationals have signed Rick Ankiel to a deal.  To play outfield, not to pitch. At least if it was to pitch it would be an interesting and potentially inspiring story.  Asking him to be the everyday left fielder is neither of those things and just adds to the curiousness of the Nationals’ 2010-11 offseason.

It’s not a ton of money — Ankiel will only get $1.5 million and the chance for another million and change in performance bonuses — but aside from that one pretty damn spiffy playoff home run he hit into McCovey Cove back in October, he hasn’t shown himself to be useful in a couple of years now. Not even to a last place team like the Nats.

Query: what’s wrong with Mike Morse?  In 98 games last year Morse hit .289/.352/.519 playing in right and at first base.  Can he not handle left field?  If the Nationals do end up signing Derrek Lee, he has no position at all.  If the Nats are truly going to make him a bench player, I’m sure there are a lot of teams who would be interested in stealing him away.

Freddie Freeman’s X-rays come back negative

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The Braves got a scare last night after first baseman Freddie Freeman was hit on the left wrist by a Hoby Milner fastball in the bottom of the eighth inning. It was doubly scary given that, less than a year ago, the same wrist was fractured when Aaron Loup plunked him last year, causing Freeman to miss over a month and a half.

Good news, though: the Braves just announced that Freeman’s X-rays are negative and that he’s day-to-day.

On the season, Freeman is batting .288/.468/.492 with two home runs, 12 RBI, and 12 runs scored in 79 plate appearances.