Dickson returns to Cards with new pitch

Dickson returns to Cards with new pitch

Dickson returns to Cards with new pitch
LOS ANGELES -- Brandon Dickson was recalled from Triple-A Memphis on Friday to fortify a bullpen that will be without right-hander Kyle McClellan for at least two months. Whether Dickson is a short-term replacement for McClellan or can extend his stay will be largely his to control.

Dickson, 27, was 2-3 with a 3.42 ERA in eight starts for Memphis before the callup. The transition to a role in the bullpen, though, isn't an entirely foreign one. Dickson was called on to make three relief appearances for St. Louis last season, and has pitched out of the 'pen another 33 times in the Minors.

Dickson will not be used the same way McClellan was, but he does give manager Mike Matheny a long-relief option. Dickson was scheduled to make his next start for Memphis on Friday, meaning that he is ready to pitch multiple innings immediately.

"I know I can compete and play at this level," Dickson said. "I believe in myself. I did have some success [in the Majors last year]. It was minor, but hopefully I can build on that."

Not only does Dickson arrive with fewer butterflies this time around, but he also comes armed with a new pitch. During the offseason, Dickson focused largely on developing his changeup, a pitch that, in the past, he threw only when "it didn't matter if it was a strike or not."

Knowing that he'd need a third pitch to be successful as a Major League starter, Dickson began incorporating it into his repertoire regularly with Memphis.

"It's something that's been a growing process for me," Dickson said. "I'm throwing it more often, in all kinds of counts, too. I have a lot more confidence in it, so I'm going to use it to my advantage."