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Mets sign outfielder Rick Ankiel

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Looking to add pop to the lineup, the Mets have signed 33-year-old outfielder Rick Ankiel. He will start in center field tonight in St. Louis.

USA TODAY Sports

The Mets haven't scored more than four runs in eight games, and management is desperate to find some offense. Enter Rick Ankiel, who the team signed this afternoon, as first reported by John Heyman and confirmed by Anthony DiComo. Ankiel will play center field and bat seventh tonight against his former team, the St. Louis Cardinals. The Mets have demoted Andrew Brown to Triple-A Las Vegas to make room.

The Mets will look for Ankiel to add power and stability to the team's often-maligned outfield. In 65 plate appearances for the Astros this season, Ankiel had just three walks and 12 hits, while striking out 35 times. But five of his hits left the yard, and he has provided average outfield defense with a plus-arm in years past.

Of course, Ankiel was once a pitching phenom who finished second in NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2000. Mets fans of a certain age should remember his meltdown during the playoffs that year, as well as his subsequent remarkable reinvention as a slugging part-time outfielder.