Cardinals, Ankiel agree to one-year contract

Updated: February 12, 2009, 4:46 PM ET
Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- Outfielder Rick Ankiel and the St. Louis Cardinals agreed to a one-year contract worth $2,825,000 Thursday, avoiding arbitration.

The agreement was at the midpoint between the $3.3 million Ankiel asked for when the sides exchanged figures last month and the $2.35 million St. Louis had offered. A hearing had been scheduled for Thursday in Phoenix.

Ankiel made $975,000 last year, when he hit .264 with 25 home runs and 71 RBIs in a season shortened by a hernia operation in September.

"We are excited to get this deal done and put the process behind us," general manager John Mozeliak said in a statement. "Everyone felt that this agreement was fair to both parties and we can now look forward to another strong season of play from Rick."

The Cardinals have one arbitration case remaining with outfielder Ryan Ludwick due for a hearing on Feb. 17. Ludwick is seeking $4.25 million while the Cardinals have offered $2.8 million.

Ludwick made $421,000 last year when he had a breakout season with 37 homers, 113 RBIs and a .299 average.

The Cardinals have not had a salary arbitration hearing since 1999.

The 29-year-old Ankiel restarted his career as an outfielder after breaking into the major leagues at age 19 as a hard-throwing left-handed pitcher. Last season was his first full year as a position player.

In 585 at-bats as a position player, Ankiel has 36 homers and 110 RBIs.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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