The Springfield News-Leader newspaper reported on Tuesday that Chris Maloney, Springfield Cardinals manager, put Ankiel into the number two hitting spot at the last minute and the former pitcher, an 11 game winner in 2000, went 1-for-5 at the plate.
Ankiel's homer came in the eighth inning off left-hander Jamal Hamilton who was 5-1 last year in combined pitching with the Dodgers' High-A and Low-A clubs.
Ankiel announced his decision to retire from pitching and seek a return to the big leagues as an outfielder three weeks ago after control problems continued to plague his pitching progress.
It is still a bit of a mystery where Ankiel will start the season. He told the News-Leader on Monday that he would like to remain in the Cardinal system. And, though the Cardinals have no current plans to play Ankiel in 2005, he remains on the St. Louis 25-man roster and he would have to clear waivers before being eligible to play in the Cardinals' minor league system.