Bickford was designated for assignment on Saturday to make room on the active roster for Joe Kelly, who was acquired in a trade with the White Sox on Friday. Kolarek was not on the 40-man roster and was pitching with Triple-A Oklahoma City, but did pitch for the Dodgers earlier this season.
Bickford at the time of getting designated for assignment was tied for the lead among Dodgers relievers with 48 strikeouts — since passed by Caleb Ferguson — but also had a 5.14 ERA and 5.17 ERA in his 36 relief appearances and 42 innings. He is out of options.
The highlight of the season for Bickford was pitching the final three extra innings, a career-long appearance and struck out four in a 12-inning win over the Twins on May 15.
“I can’t say enough about Phil. That’s as good of an outing from him that you’ll ever see,” manager Dave Roberts said after that game. “Everyone in that room knows he really cares. He cares more about being a good teammate than being a good baseball player, truth be told. And he left it all out there.”
Claimed off waivers in 2021, Bickford was an unexpected surprise key member of the Dodgers bullpen that season, but struggled in the two years since. During his time with the Dodgers, Bickford had a 4.11 ERA and 4.07 FIP with 174 strikeouts and 58 walks in 153⅓ innings.
Kolarek pitched for the Dodgers in 2019-20, then returned this year on a minor league deal with a non-roster invitation to spring training. The left-hander got called up to the Dodgers on June 11 and pitched once in the two games he was active. Kolarek struck out two in 1⅓ scoreless innings against the Phillies on June 11, though he did allow both inherited runners to score on a bloop single, his only hit allowed.
The Dodgers designated Kolarek for assignment on June 14, but he cleared waivers and was sent outright back to Triple-A. The 34-year-old had a 2.40 ERA in 33 games for Oklahoma City this season, with 26 strikeouts and 17 walks in 30 innings.