HOUSTON -- The decision to part ways with Rick Ankiel on Monday was a difficult one for manager Bo Porter, who was with Ankiel last year in Washington and has tons of respect for the way the veteran carried himself.
Ankiel and fellow outfielder Fernando Martinez were designated for assignment Monday, likely bringing an end to their tenure in Houston. Ankiel hit just .194 in 25 games with five homers, 11 RBIs and a whopping 35 strikeouts in 62 at-bats. The Astros couldn't live with the strikeouts anymore.
"It was real difficult because of the professional Rick Ankiel is and all the things he was able to do for us from the moment we signed him, and he did a tremendous job of mentoring a lot of the young guys and adding a veteran presence that was very much needed in our ballclub," Porter said. "At the same time, it was something [general manager] Jeff [Luhnow] and I talked about and something that needed to be done."
The Astros brought Ankiel to Minute Maid Park on Monday to inform him of the decision in person, which was a definite show of respect.
"Rick is a professional and he understands the game," Porter said. "He's been around the game a long time. His reaction was, 'Thanks for the opportunity.' He wished us well, we wished him well and that was pretty much it."
Fellow veteran Carlos Pena considers Ankiel a friend and was sorry to see him go.
"Everybody loved him," he said. "He is a very dear friend of mine and not to have him around is definitely something that hurt, but it was good to see him in good spirits and positive like he's always been. He's a warrior."