The Dodgers have claimed right-hander Phil Bickford off waivers from the Brewers. Both teams have announced the move, with the Dodgers designating left-hander Mike Kickham for assignment to create roster space.
Bickford pitched just one inning for the Brewers in 2021, to go along with his lone inning for the team last season. Twice a first-round draft pick (for the Blue Jays in 2013 and, after opting to attend college, with the Giants in 2015), Bickford’s career has been stalled by injuries and a 50-game suspension for a drug of abuse in 2017.
The righty is still only 25 years old, however, and has yet to pitch in either Double-A or Triple-A ball. It could be that some time in a proper minor league game environment will help hone Bickford’s potential as a relief pitcher, since he recorded a whopping 53 strikeouts in 32 2/3 bullpen innings (with a 2.48 ERA) for Milwaukee’s high-A affiliate in 2019.
Kickham signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers in the offseason and had his contract selected by the team yesterday. He tossed two innings of mop-up work in the Dodgers’ 16-4 victory over the Brewers, though Kickham allowed three earned runs. The 32-year-old has now appeared in four Major League seasons, though with a sizeable gap in between — Kickham pitched for the Giants in 2013-14 and then worked in the minors before resurfacing for 14 innings with the Red Sox in 2020.