Veteran St. Louis Cardinals closer Ryan Franklin was removed from the role Tuesday, according to reports from the Associated Press, following a catastrophic start to his 2011 season in which he'd blown four saves in five chances. Franklin blew just two saves in 29 chances in 2010, and was an All-Star in 2009, when he saved 38 games with an ERA of 1.92. The Cardinals have not yet announced who will replace him for the time being, though former closer Miguel Batista and young right-handers Mitchell Boggs and Jason Motte are the likely options.
Franklin became the closer in 2008, just his third full season as a Major League reliever at 35, when long-time closer Jason Isringhausen's hip problems led to serious control problems. After Motte seems likely to receive the closer job in 2009, Franklin came in following an ugly Opening Day blown save and held the job without drama for two seasons.
Franklin gave up a walk-off home run on Sunday to the Los Angeles Dodgers' Matt Kemp. He's got an ERA of 11.57 across six appearances, and gave up a home run in his only non-save appearance of the year as well.
For analysis on the move, check out Viva El Birdos's Ryan Franklin's bad timing, fastball, from before the news broke.