Right-hander Ryan Franklin, who has blown four of five save opportunities after converting 27 of 29 last year, has been relieved of his closer duties, at least for a while.
Manager Tony La Russa didn't assign the job to anybody in particular, saying what was happening in the game would dictate the strategy he and pitching coach Dave Duncan will use. But he did acknowledge that Franklin wouldn't be the full-time closer.
A mix-and-matchup approach is most likely, as the Cardinals will rotate right-hander Mitchell Boggs, Miguel Batista and Jason Motte, along with left-hander Trever Miller. Franklin, 38, then would have the chance to get back on track under less perilous circumstances.
"We're going to do whatever we can do for Franklin, and to get him right," Duncan said. "He's an important part of this staff, and we need him in that role. We need to put him in a situation where he can go out there and have some success and some fun and relax a little bit. Take the pressure off of him a little bit."
La Russa said, "You treat him like a hitter who is struggling. Change his responsibilities a little bit."
Franklin said, "It's not my mechanics. I'm not missing spots. It may be poor pitch selection, but that's my fault. I'm not recognizing what hitters are doing up there on certain pitches. I need to pay more attention to that."
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