Cardinals Major League Notebook: 04/20/11

As expected, the St. Louis Cardinals have moved Ryan Franklin out of the closer role. Who will replace him remains to be seen.

INSIDE PITCH

 

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."

NOTES, QUOTES

RHP Jake Westbrook will pitch Wednesday afternoon against Washington in a makeup of a Tuesday night rainout. LHP Jaime Garcia will take his regularly scheduled turn Wednesday night in the second game of the first day-night doubleheader at Busch Stadium since Sept. 15, 2007. Not ideal for the Cardinals is that their rotation for the first series against defending division champion Cincinnati this weekend could be affected. Initially, Westbrook was targeted to pitch the final game on Sunday, but he would be doing that on three days' rest now.

INF Nick Punto, who came off the 15-day disabled list Tuesday, is slated to make his first start for the Cardinals on Wednesday night. Punto had been working out for nearly two weeks at the Cardinals' Jupiter, Fla., training base after having abdominal surgery in February.

2B Skip Schumaker went on the disabled list for the first time in his career with a strained right triceps, an injury manager Tony La Russa fears may keep him out longer than 15 days. "I'll do everything to speed recovery," Schumaker said. "I knew (going to the doctor on Monday) that it was significant enough to have a concern. It depends on your body, and it depends on how well you recover, but I'm hoping for it to be no more than the 15 days."

OF Allen Craig, who was placed on the disabled list with a strained left groin, may be not be out longer than 15 days. He has been replaced on the roster by left-handed-hitting 1B Mark Hamilton, who was at Class AAA Memphis. Hamilton can play the outfield, but not very well. Hamilton was batting .297/.469/.432 through 11 games with Memphis this season.

LHP Brian Tallet had two screws inserted in his right hand to hasten the healing process as he recovers from a fracture that put him on the disabled list last week. Tallet said the doctors initially told him the recovery would be four to six weeks. The surgery to put the screws in place was expected to cut that recovery time in half, Tallet said.

BY THE NUMBERS: 2 - Day-night doubleheaders at Busch Stadium in its first five seasons. No. 3 is slated for Wednesday.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Everything in my arsenal is still there. I haven't lost anything. However they want to put me out there, it doesn't matter. I'm theirs."

- RHP Ryan Franklin, on being displaced as the Cardinals' closer.

ROSTER REPORT

MEDICAL WATCH:

INF Nick Punto (hernia surgery in February 2011) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 22. He was activated April 19.

2B Skip Schumaker (strained right triceps) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 16. Manager Tony La Russa said Schumaker might be out longer than 15 days.

OF Allen Craig (left groin strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 17. He hopes to return after the minimum absence.

LHP Bryan Tallet (fractured right hand) went on 15-day disabled list April 13. He had screws inserted in his hand, and he hopes to return in early May.

RHP Bryan Augenstein (strained right groin) went on the 15-day disabled list April 13.

RHP Adam Wainwright (Tommy John surgery in February 2011) went on the 60-day disabled list March 25. He will miss the entire 2011 season.

NEXT GAMES

 

Wed., Apr. 19 vs. NATIONALS

 

Game one: Jake Westbrook (1-1, 7.63) vs. John Lannan (1-1, 3.38) 1:15 p.m. CDT (FOX Sports Midwest, KMOX Radio and Cardinals Radio Network).

 

Game two: Jaime Garcia (2-0, 1.35) vs. Jordan Zimmerman (1-2, 2.45) 7:15 p.m. CDT (FOX Sports Midwest, KMOX Radio and Cardinals Radio Network).


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