ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals manager Tony La Russa won't say who the closer is, but for the time being, it's not Ryan Franklin.
La Russa acknowledged on Tuesday that he and his staff have made a change in how they view the ninth inning, which means that at the very least, Franklin is no longer the automatic choice to get save chances. But beyond that, the manager wasn't really giving anything away. He did not divulge whether he has one pitcher to whom he intends to funnel save chances, or who that pitcher would be if he does.
"I think the thing to do is watch the game, see who comes out there," La Russa said. "We can talk about it afterwards."
Franklin likewise declined to answer directly whether he has been removed from the closer's role, but nonetheless made it clear that his situation has changed.
"I know that I'm going to go out there to the bullpen, and whenever the phone rings and they say, 'Franklin, get up,' I get up," he said. "That's what I know."
Franklin has been charged with four blown saves in five opportunities this year, including three on the Cardinals' just-finished 10-game road trip. St. Louis has lost all four of those games. Franklin has allowed at least one run in five of his six appearances on the season and has surrendered three home runs.
"You treat him like a hitter who's struggling," La Russa said. "Change his responsibility a little bit for a little bit."
Miguel Batista, Mitchell Boggs and Jason Motte are all among the candidates to get save chances while Franklin is used in other ways.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.