Salas optioned, Fick called up

Chuckie Fick will get his first taste of big league action. Reported last night that he was on his way to join the major league squad, the news of who would be making the return trip came out later. The 26-year-old Fick is on his way up while Fernando Salas will be heading back to Memphis.

Fick was a 15th round pick of the 2007 MLB Draft for the Cardinals. He had a stellar year in Memphis in 2011, posting a 2.30 ERA over 70 1/3 innings. This year he has been markedly worse, but still capable with his 3.86 ERA in 21 innings so far in the young season. However, the Cardinals’ bullpen has been hit hard by injury and ineffectiveness that has resulted in the need to call up some of their minor league pitchers.

Fick joins Eduardo Sanchez and Brandon Dickson as callups from Memphis for the St. Louis bullpen so far this season. He was already a member of the 40 man roster for the Cardinals, so there were no changes to the 40 man roster to make room for him.

Maikel Cleto (4.12 ERA in 24 IP in Memphis), Sam Freeman (4.15 ERA in 4.1 IP in Memphis), and Adam Reifer (3.86 ERA in 23 1/3 IP in Memphis) are the remaining three relievers on the 40 man roster who haven’t gotten a call yet this season.

On the other side of this move, Fernando Salas will be headed back to Memphis in the hopes that he will get his issues ironed out. Salas, 26, spent time through the summer as the Cardinals’ closer when they desperately needed someone to nail down the role. He held it through late August when manager Tony La Russa chose to try Jason Motte in the role.

Unfortunately, Salas hasn’t been right all season long. He allowed 4 earned runs over 8 innings in Spring Training. He duplicated that performance in April, allowing 4 earned runs over 8 innings in 11 relief appearances. Now in May, he has allowed 7 earned runs in 7 2/3 innings of relief over 7 appearances. Even when he does have a good appearance on the stat sheet, he’s throwing a lot of pitches.

When right, Salas is probably the second best pitcher in the bullpen. He has spent time as the closer in Springfield in 2008, Memphis in 2010 and in St. Louis in 2011. He has that late inning experience and resolve, something that would be very good for the Cardinals to have in their bullpen. Unfortunately, he needs to figure out what’s going wrong and fix it. A stint in Memphis will give him that opportunity. He should be back, and hopefully it’s soon.