The Los Angeles Dodgers recalled Phil Bickford from Triple-A Oklahoma City and optioned Garrett Cleavinger prior to Sunday’s series finale against the Cincinnati Reds.
Bickford experienced arm soreness before reporting to Spring Training, which led to falling behind in camp and not being included on the Dodgers’ Opening Day roster despite the team carrying 16 pitchers.
Bickford didn’t appear in a Cactus League game until facing the San Francisco Giants on April 2, in what was the Dodgers’ final matchup in Arizona. He struck out two batters and retired the side in order.
Bickford by throwing another scoreless inning in the finale of the exhibition Freeway Series three days later.
“Phil was a little bit like Brusdar (Graterol) last year. It was a later buildup, wasn’t quite ready to get going once we started camp. All pitchers need time and he just didn’t get to that point,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts recently explained.
“That’s why we used the option. He was huge for us last year and he’s going to be huge for us this year. Until he gets ready to kind of check the boxes of the one-plus, the back-to-back and bouncing back, so that’s what we had to do.”
Roberts had previously estimated Bickford would join the team at the end of April or early into May.
Bickford allowed just one hit — a solo home run — and collected three strikeouts over three innings pitched across four appearances for OKC. He completed a back-to-back from April 13-14, though the second night was only facing one batter.
Balance in Dodgers bullpen
Cleavinger was among the five left-handed relief pitchers on the active roster to begin the season. He allowed one run on two hits and recorded just two outs in his lone appearance.
That came under unique circumstances as Cleavinger had just entered the series opener against the Minnesota Twins before it went into a rain delay that lasted 1 hour and 28 minutes, and he remained in the game once play resumed.
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