The Cardinals have finally done the inevitable.
While Tony La Russa wouldn’t say the change is permanent, he told B.J. Rains of FOX Sports Midwest this afternoon that struggling closer Ryan Franklin will not be used in the ninth inning for the time being.
Franklin has allowed six runs on eight hits — including three home runs — over 4 2/3 innings this season, blowing four out of his first five save opportunities.
“It’s a combination of things,” La Russa said. “He’s in a little bit of a rut. …You treat him like a hitter that’s struggling. You change his responsibility for a little bit.”
Ever-unpredictable, La Russa wouldn’t say who he would turn to should a save situation present itself tonight against the Nationals.
“Watch the game,” La Russa said. “We’ll see. I think the thing you do is you watch the game and see who comes out there. We can talk about it afterwards.”
Right-hander Mitchell Boggs is considered the favorite for the role, while 40-year-old Miguel Batista and fireballer Jason Motte are also possibilities.
MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig‘s one-game suspension has been rescinded. Instead, he will make a charitable donation. The alternative “punishment” was agreed to by Major League Baseball and the Players’ Association.
Puig was suspended one game two weeks ago after flipping off some hecklers at Progressive Field in Cleveland. Puig showed remorse after the game, saying, “I stooped to their level.”
Entering Tuesday night’s action, Puig was batting .251/.331/.458 with 14 home runs and 41 RBI in 287 plate appearances.
Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre picked a good time to hit his 450th home run. With the game tied 1-1 in the top of the ninth inning, Beltre took the first pitch he saw from closer Cody Allen for a ride, sending it into the left field seats at Progressive Field to break the tie.
The Rangers would go on to win 2-1. Beltre finished 2-for-4. He now has 2,969 career hits, leaving him 31 shy of becoming the 31st member of the 3,000 hit club.
On the season, Beltre is hitting .303/.373/.562 with five home run sand 22 RBI in 102 plate appearances.