Franklin situation still fluid

We’ll know a good deal more perhaps even within half an hour, but for now the status of Ryan Franklin remains somewhat up in the air for the Cardinals. He turned in another rough outing on Tuesday night, the fourth straight in which he’s allowed at least one home run. That run follows the first really encouraging stretch all year from the Cards’ former closer, in which he pitched eight strong innings over five games.

Following Tuesday night’s game, the three primary decision-makers for Cardinals’ pitching matters all made somewhat cryptic comments about Franklin’s future with the club, all of them suggesting that some kind of change could well come before the team leaves Baltimore on Thursday night.

Manager Tony La Russa referred to potential “creative” solutions. Pitching coach Dave Duncan expressed sympathy for the veteran right-hander but also acknowledged that some adjustment could be made soon. And general manager John Mozeliak even broached the possibility that some sort of physical malady may be bothering Franklin, while saying that some sort of roster adjustment could come today, tomorrow… or not at all.

The situation is complicated not only by Franklin’s four strong seasons in St. Louis prior to 2011, but the high regard in which he is held in the clubhouse. However, with the season halfway over, it gets tougher and tougher for the Cardinals to carry a pitcher struggling so mightily.

Another issue is a relative dearth of options. The Cardinals could recall Bryan Augenstein from Triple-A Memphis, or take another shot with Maikel Cleto, but aside from that they don’t have many pitching alternatives.

Stay tuned, because this is most definitely a developing situation. Resolution may not come Tuesday afternoon, but it’s not likely to linger all week.

–Matthew Leach

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