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Mets sign Rick Ankiel to major league contract

The Mets are desperate for help in the outfield and Ankiel was available after being released by the Astros earlier this season.

Bob Levey

The New York Mets have signed outfielder Rick Ankiel to a major league contract. In an accompanying move, Andrew Brown was sent back to Triple-A Las Vegas.

The Mets will waste little time geting Ankiel in the lineup. He is starting in center field tonight as the Mets take on the St. Louis Cardinals, reports Anthony DiComo of

Ankiel, 33, signed with the Houston Astros during the offseason and played 25 games with them in 2013. During his time with Houston, Ankiel hit .194/.231/.484. He also struck out in over half of his plate appearances. The former pitcher is still known as an above-average fielder with a fantastic arm. The Astros released Ankiel on May 9.

The Mets' outfield has been in a state of flux all season long. On the season, the team's right fielders have combined for a .723 OPS and the center fielders for a .545 OPS. Currently, New York's depth chart has Juan Lagares and Marlon Byrd listed as the starting center fielder and right fielder, respectively.

Brown, 28, only saw action in six games while in the majors. He collected three hits, including a home run on Saturday. Brown was called up at the beginning of May.