Royals ink Rick Ankiel to one-year contract

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ankiel smiling.JPGAccording to Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports, the Royals and outfielder Rick
Ankiel have agreed to terms on a one-year, $3.25 million contract with a $6 million mutual option for 2011.

Scott Boras strikes again.  Ankiel seems like a fine human being and we should all applaud his transformation from headcase pitcher to homer-hitting outfielder, but his days as an effective everyday player are through.  The guy has far too many holes in his swing.  He hit just .231 last season with a .285 on-base percentage over 404 plate appearances and struck out 99 times.  Oh, and he turns 31 this season.  To add such a lucrative mutual option was silly, whether or not it’s ever exercised.

Let’s look on the bright side for just a minute, though.  Ankiel does boast one of the strongest throwing arms in the league and has compiled decent UZR/150 marks at the corner outfield positions.  He has also pieced together a .254/.324/.469 batting line against right-handed pitchers over the last three seasons.  If used correctly, maybe — just maybe — he can have a positive impact on the 2010 edition of the Kansas City Royals.  It’s not like that offense can get any worse.

Red Sox end Astros’ 10-game winning streak

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The Red Sox salvaged the final game of their three-game home series against the Astros, winning 4-3 on Sunday afternoon. In doing so, they ended the Astros’ 10-game winning streak.

Xander Bogaerts struck the decisive blow, knocking in a run with a double in the seventh inning to break a 3-3 tie. Michael Chavis also hit another homer — his eighth of the season — while Mookie Betts collected three hits and scored three runs to raise his OPS to .899.

The Astros last lost on May 7 against the Royals, the second game of a three-game series. The Astros won the final game of that set, then swept the Rangers in a four-game series, the Tigers in three, and won the first two games against the Red Sox. It’s their second 10-game winning streak of the season, as they won 10 striaght between April 5-16, sweeping the Athletics, Yankees, and Mariners before losing the second of two games against the A’s in Oakland.

At 31-16, the Astros are slightly behind the Twins — in progress as of this writing — for the best winning percentage in the majors. The Red Sox, meanwhile, have made up some ground after ending April 13-17. They’re now 24-22, good for third place in the AL East.