Rick Ankiel to retire

JUPITER, FL (MLB.com) - Pitcher-turned-outfielder Rick Ankiel has officially retired, according to an announcement made on Wednesday's Cardinals Spring Training broadcast.

The announcement -- made by St. Louis broadcaster Dan McLaughlin -- puts an end to the career of one of the most intriguing players of the past decade and one of the sport's best comeback stories.

Ankiel was released by the Mets on June 11 last season and had been reportedly looking for a contract until Wednesday's broadcast. According to McLaughlin, Ankiel is now hoping to find a front-office job somewhere.

Drafted by the Cardinals in 1997 out of high school in Port St. Lucie, Fla., Ankiel made his Major League debut as a pitcher for St. Louis two years later at age 20. Entering the 2000 season, he was rated the game's top overall prospect by Baseball America.