ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Cardinals and Rick Ankiel avoided arbitration Friday, with the outfielder agreeing to a one-year, $900,000 contract with incentives that could push the value of the deal to $1 million.
The once-promising left-handed pitcher whose career was sidetracked by wildness has emerged as a leading contender for a starting spot in the outfield after hitting 11 homers with 39 RBIs in just 47 games after being called up last August.
The New York Daily News reported in September that Ankiel received eight shipments of human growth hormone from January to December 2004. Major League Baseball decided in December there was insufficient evidence to determine he committed a doping violation.
Ankiel would make an additional $25,000 if he reaches 350 plate appearances and the same amount at 400, 450 and 500 plate appearances.