Former MLBer Rick Ankiel drank vodka before a few starts to calm nerves

Rick Ankiel is known for his epic pitching slump with the Cardinals, then his resurgence into the big leagues after a rough few years.

However, what wasn’t known was that Ankiel used liquid courage in the form of vodka to push him through a couple of games early is his career.

Ankiel joined host Ryan Kelley on “The Morning After” during Cardinals spring training Monday to discuss his new autobiography coming out in April and dropped a few details on how he dealt with nerves when he was a surprise opening day starter in 2001 against the Diamondbacks and pitcher Randy Johnson.

Holland was dominant for the Royals in 2013 and 2014, saving a total of 93 games while posting a 1.32 ERA and 193 strikeouts to just 38 walks those two seasons. He was an All-Star and finished in the top 10 in NL Cy Young voting each of those two seasons but tailed off in 2015.

The reason for that became clear late that season when Holland revealed he had been pitching through elbow pain since August 2014 but refused to submit to an MRI. An exam in early September 2015 revealed ligament damage in his elbow, and Holland finally shut it down Sept. 18 Cheap NFL Jerseys China of that year.

Holland, now 31, saw his velocity drop off precipitously in the second half of 2015. A repaired elbow should help that, and there’s a long line of pitchers who have emerged from elbow reconstruction as good or better than they were before.

Coors Field might not be the ideal jumping-off point for such an attempt, but the opportunity is there if Holland proves healthy, with Adam Ottavino and Jake McGee the other contenders for late-inning roles.

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