Cards shuffle partial relief deck Thursday

Maikel Cleto made his MLB debut in 2011

Maikel Cleto called up with Brandon Dickson and Chuckie Fick returned to Triple-A Memphis as the St. Louis Cardinals shift relievers.

The St. Louis Cardinals have begun the expected churn in their under-performing bullpen by switching out two rarely-used parts for a recycled one.

Chuckie Fick and Brandon Dickson have been optioned to Triple-A Memphis while the club has recalled Maikel Cleto. Cleto will join the Cardinals for the opening of the Mets series in New York on Friday and will be augmented by another pitcher still to be named.

Dickson, regularly a starter with Memphis since 2010, was called up to St. Louis on May 18 when Kyle McClellan went onto the disabled list. Dickson, 27, made just two relief appearances over those 12 days. In 2 1/3 innings, the right-hander was charged with one unearned run for a 0.00 ERA.

Fick, 26, was just promoted from Memphis on Saturday as Fernando Salas was sent down. In six possible games, the right-hander was called upon twice for his first action as a major leaguer. Fick allowed one run over 1 2/3 innings for a 5.40 ERA. His outings occurred last Saturday and Sunday at Busch Stadium against Philadelphia.

Cleto
Cleto has yet to make his 2012 major league debut. With Memphis, our 14th-ranked Cardinals prospect coming into the season made 22 relief appearances. The hard-throwing right-hander has a 1-1 record with a 4.50 ERA while striking out out 34 over 26 innings for a team leading 11.8 strikeouts/9 IP. Cleto walked nine and allowed two home runs.

The Dominican Republic native was acquired from the Seattle Mariners in December 2010 in exchange for infielder Brendan Ryan. The 23-year-old appeared in three Major League games during the 2011 season, compiling an 0-0 record with a 12.46 ERA over 4 1/3 innings with six strikeouts.

The Cardinals 25-man roster stands at 24 currently with the 40-man full. There will be additional roster moves Friday, but they are yet to be announced.

One should be another reliever being added. Left-hander Sam Freeman and right-hander Adam Reifer are 40-man players eligible on Memphis' current roster. The Cardinals are currently carrying just one lefty in their pen.

In addition, Allen Craig is likely come to off the disabled list on Friday with Skip Schumaker, who injured a hamstring Wednesday night, going on.

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Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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