Ex-Closer Franklin Released by Cardinals

Prior to Wednesday's game in Baltimore, the St. Louis Cardinals released right-handed relief pitcher Ryan Franklin.

Ryan Franklin was given over two months to rediscover his old magic, but failed. On Wednesday, the 38-year-old's time as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals ran out with his unconditional release.

In his final game with St. Louis on Tuesday night in Baltimore, Franklin was given the ball to start a clean eighth with a six-run lead and floundered. A J.J. Hardy home run, a single and an RBI double in just 1/3 of an inning increased the reliever's 2011 ERA to 8.46.

Franklin had given up nine home runs in 28 innings this year after yielding just nine in 2009 and 2010 combined, over 126 frames.

Franklin's last save opportunity (it was blown) was back on April 17. Since then, manager Tony La Russa and pitching coach Dave Duncan seemed reluctant to use the reliever and when they did, the results were not good. Franklin appeared in just six games in May and six in June. His old closer's job moved to Mitchell Boggs, then Eduardo Sanchez and now, Fernando Salas.

Franklin was not getting better as he was scored upon in five of those six June contests with his ERA this month at 10.61. That is worse than his 10.13 ERA during his April meltdown (four blown saves and two losses over his first five appearances of the season).

Franklin was a solid player for the Cardinals prior to this season, but his performance deteriorated to the point that a move had to be made.

The Cardinals remain liable for the remainder of Franklin's $3.25 million salary this season, part of a two-year, $6.5 million deal signed in September 2009 and covering 2010 and 2011.

Franklin joined the Cardinals prior to the 2007 season and overall, went 21-19 with a 3.52 ERA and 84 saves. His best season was 2009, when he posted a 1.92 ERA and saved 38 games and was named a National League All-Star.

Franklin's replacement on the Cardinals active roster will be named on Thursday, the club announced.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Look for his weekly minor league column on Thursdays at FOXSportsMidwest.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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