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MLB notes: Cardinals cut former All-Star closer Franklin

Thu., June 30, 2011

The St. Louis Cardinals finally ran out of patience with struggling reliever Ryan Franklin, cutting the former All-Star closer Wednesday after he failed to regain his touch.

Franklin was 1-4 with an 8.46 ERA and one save in 16 games. On Tuesday night against Baltimore, the 38-year-old righty gave up two runs and three hits, including a homer, while getting only one out.

His inability to be effective, even in a mopup role, led to the Cardinals giving him his unconditional release.

“It just came to a tipping point,” general manager John Mozeliak said at Camden Yards before the Cardinals faced the Orioles.

Franklin had been with the Cardinals since 2007, going 20-15 with a 3.04 ERA. Last season he was 6-2 with a 3.46 ERA and 27 saves. He had 38 saves in 2009 and was on the N.L. All-Star team.

This year, however, Franklin struggled from the outset. He lost the closer’s job in April, then lashed out at St. Louis fans after they booed him for giving up a home run.

“The fans should know that if something didn’t work and they are upset, he’s more upset than any of us put together,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said.

Franklin broke into the majors with Seattle in 1999 and played with Philadelphia and Cincinnati in 2006 before signing as a free agent with the Cardinals before the 2007 season.

Jeter’s return could come next week

Derek Jeter could be ready to resume his chase for 3,000 hits – he is six shy – by early next week.

The New York Yankees shortstop, sidelined with a strained right calf, went through his latest round of rehab work in Tampa, Fla., and general manager Brian Cashman said if all goes well over the next couple of days Jeter might begin a minor league rehab assignment Saturday.

Clearing the bases

Dale Scott has been picked to be the home-plate umpire and serve as the crew chief for the All-Star game, July 12 in Phoenix. The rest of the crew: Jerry Layne at first base, Hunter Wendelstedt at second, Dan Iassogna at third, Ed Hickox in left field and Chris Guccione in right. … Baltimore activated right-hander Alfredo Simon from the 15-day disabled list and designated left-handed reliever Clay Rapada for assignment. … New York Mets manager Terry Collins said he’s optimistic that left-hander Jonathon Niese will make his next start Friday after experiencing a rapid heartbeat while pitching last weekend. … Right-hander Sergio Mitre was traded from Milwaukee to the New York Yankees for cash two days after the Brewers designated him for assignment.

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