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You'd have to be made of stone not to get just a twinge of encouragement over two pretty neat stories of athletes trying to make their way back.

Of course, the trials of John Daly, who started today's second round of the 89th PGA Championship two shots off the lead, are, if not self-inflicted, more under his control than others. But after a long year of public problems, and an even longer period away from the leader board, Daly seems on track to be in position to win his second PGA title.

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Far more inspirational is the return of Rick Ankiel to the St. Louis Cardinals' roster. Ankiel's story, though not so widely known, is a remarkable one. Ankiel rose through the Cardinals' farm system as a prized pitching prospect, only to flame out after Tommy John surgery, a knee injury and a crisis of confidence, where he could no longer find the plate. But, instead of packing it in, Ankiel reinvented himself as an outfielder, making his way back up through the minors until he landed back in St. Louis last night.

Ankiel marked his triumphant return by hitting a home run in the Cardinals 5-0 win over San Diego, right out of the storybook.

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