NEW YORK -- Manager Mike Matheny suggested that changes were on the horizon following the Cardinals' 10-7 loss to the Braves on Wednesday night, and less than 24 hours later, moves have indeed been made.
The Cardinals announced on Thursday that pitchers Chuckie Fick and Brandon Dickson have been optioned to Triple-A Memphis. Taking one of those open bullpen spots will be right-hander Maikel Cleto, who will join the club in time for Friday's series opener against the Mets.
Cleto, who made three appearances for the Cardinals last season, has a 4.50 ERA in 22 Triple-A appearances this year. His numbers have improved recently, however. In 16 2/3 May innings, the 23-year-old allowed just five earned runs on 12 hits. He struck out 22 and walked five.
Dickson and Fick each appeared in two games during their abbreviated stints with the big league club. It became evident on Wednesday night, too, that Matheny did not want to rely on either rookie reliever in a tight game. That certainly handcuffed Matheny, who already had limited bullpen options for the game.
Dickson allowed one unearned run in his 2 1/3 innings pitched. One earned run was scored off Fick in 1 2/3 innings.
Additional roster moves will be made by the Cardinals on Friday. Allen Craig is expected to come off the disabled list, though Skip Schumaker, depending upon how the severity of his hamstring injury, is likely to go on. Schumaker suffered the injury late in Wednesday's game and was scheduled to return to St. Louis on Thursday for additional testing.
If the Cardinals want to continue to employ a seven-man bullpen, they'll have to add another reliever Friday, too.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.