Ankiel To St. Louis?

WASHINGTON (AP) - Rick Ankiel's long wait to return to the major

leagues could be over soon.

The pitcher-turned-outfielder's power numbers at Triple-A

Memphis have earned him a callup to the St. Louis Cardinals -

possibly this month, manager Tony La Russa said Friday.

"There's no doubt he'll be here in September," La Russa said

before his club's game against the Washington Nationals. "Whether

he gets here before September, that remains to be discussed."

Ankiel was considered a rising star back in 2000, when at only

20, he went 11-7 with a 3.50 ERA and 194 strikeouts in 175 innings

- earning the start in the Cardinals' first playoff game. But he

suddenly lost his control during that outing, becoming the first

pitcher since 1890 to throw five wild pitches in an inning.

In 2001, he went 1-2, then pitched only 10 more innings in the

majors - all in 2004. He decided to switch to the outfield in 2005,

but then missed all of last season after injuring his left knee in

spring training.

Now 28, Ankiel is hitting .272 with 31 homers and 85 RBIs at

Memphis. On Wednesday, he went 3-for-6 with four RBIs.

"We're definitely noticing what he's doing," La Russa said.