Whatever happened to Ryan Franklin? It's hard to say, exactly. But if you believe Cardinals GM John Mozeliak, Franklin's going to right back in there before long. Or should be, anyway. Derrick Goold (via stltoday.com):
"It's evolved over the last couple weeks," Mozeliak said of the Cardinals' bullpen and specifically the ninth inning. "Whoever is available and whoever is hot. Still, we'd like to get Franklin into that mix. ... We have to make the opportunity available (to him). If you are in the snake-bitten mode the only way to get out of it is pitching."
Franklin has been relegated to a long relief role, though he has not been used much in the past week.
Franklin has not been used much?
I think we have our winner in the Understatement of the Weekend category.
Since giving up two runs in Houston on the 27th of April, Franklin has pitched exactly once. Ten days, 10 games, and exactly 1-1/3 innings for Franklin. And that was a whole week ago in Atlanta, when Franklin entered in the bottom of the eighth against the Braves, got three quick outs ... and was sent out again in the ninth, when he gave up an unearned run to lose the game.
Since then, the Cardinals have been involved in just one blowout, and that was Jaime Garcia's two-hitter Friday night. So it's hard to fault La Russa for not getting Franklin into a game recently. Still, considering what happened before Franklin lost his job, what's happened since, and how well the Cardinals' other key relievers have pitched this season, it's hard to imagine that Franklin's anywhere near being "in the mix" when it comes to protecting slim ninth-inning leads.