Ankiel joined the team in Milwaukee after playing a rehab game Monday night for Double-A Harrisburg, but he was not in the Nationals' starting lineup against the Brewers. He takes the roster spot of first baseman Adam LaRoche, who was placed on the DL on Monday to rest his ailing left shoulder.
"He feels 100 percent, but there's some rust there," manager Jim Riggleman said. "He hasn't played much baseball in the last three weeks. We'll get him some at-bats in a lot of batting practice and extra sessions in the cage. Once we get him in a game, we'll try to keep him sharp along with [Roger] Bernadina and [Laynce] Nix."
Riggleman has started Michael Morse at first base in the two games at Milwaukee, but said Matt Stairs, Alex Cora and even Ankiel could play there in LaRoche's absence.
Ankiel, 31, is batting .221 with a home run and seven RBIs in 28 games this year. He went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts in his rehab game for Harrisburg, but also had been playing games at the team's extended spring facility in Viera, Fla.
Joe DiGiovanni is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.