Dean Kiekhefer is with the St. Louis Cardinals again, having received the call to join the team in New York, replacing injured Trevor Rosenthal on the active roster. The 27-year-old left-hander had been up first in May to early June and then once again as the 26th man for a doubleheader.
2016 is his third year at Triple-A, having reached Memphis in 2014, with this being his seventh in the Cardinals system since being drafted in the 36th round in the 2010 draft from the University of Louisville.
Known for his ability to pitch multiple innings and on consecutive days as well as impeccable control, Kiekhefer made 55 pen appearances in 2014, including 40 with the Redbirds. He followed it up with a Memphis team-leading total of 50 games last season. The Kentucky native had good support as his pitching coach Bryan Eversgerd also once led the Redbirds in appearances. In fact, “Gerdy” did it twice - during the team’ first two seasons in Memphis with 49 in 1998 and 59 in 1999.
In 2016, Kiekhefer has an even 2.00 ERA in 23 outings for the Redbirds. The control artist had just six walks to go with 14 strikeouts in 27 innings of work, while holding Pacific Coast League batters to a collective .267 average.
Since rejoining St. Louis, the lefty has appeared in three games, tossing a total of two scoreless innings on one hit, no walks and one strikeout. That has lowered his rookie year ERA to 4.85.
In the following interview, Kiekhefer recalls how he learned of the news he was rejoining St. Louis. We then move into his view of the 2016 Redbirds. After all, with 113 career relief appearances with Memphis, who better to ask how the current team stacks up?
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also catch his Cardinals commentary at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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