After a very rough outing on Thursday against the Angels, St. Louis Cardinals right-handed relief pitcher Seth Maness was optioned to Triple-A Memphis on Friday. His replacement is left-handed reliever Dean Kiekhefer, who will be making his Major League debut.
Asked to secure the final three outs with a five-run lead Thursday, Maness failed. The 27-year-old faced four batters in the ninth inning, yielding a single, double, and a three-run home run to Albert Pujols. That 1/3-inning outing increased his season ERA to 6.39. In 2016, Maness has allowed just under two baserunners per inning, including 21 hits in 12 2/3 frames. He last pitched in the minors in 2013.
Ironically, Kiekhefer, 26, had allowed his first two earned runs this season on Thursday night. The Kentucky native, who is already on the 40-man roster, still has a 1.35 ERA over 13 1/3 innings over 11 games for Memphis. The control artist struck out nine and has yet to issue a walk with an opponents’ batting average of .235.
Since 2014, Kiekhefer has appeared in 101 games for the Triple-A Redbirds, with an ERA of 2.36. The side-armer was St. Louis’ 36th-round draft pick in 2010 from the University of Louisville. Kiekhefer has pitched two different years (2013 and 2015) in the Arizona Fall League and was a Pacific Coast League All-Star last season.
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