Bullpen solutions to be found in-house
Cardinals to utilize system depth while Isringhausen sidelined
ST. LOUIS -- The first bullpen option is the internal option.
With the status of longtime closer Jason Isringhausen in limbo now that he has been placed on the disabled list, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak expressed confidence before Saturday's game against Tampa Bay that the club can stabilize its bullpen without looking outside the organization.
"Not at this time," Mozeliak said when asked if the club might be tempted to check out the market for relievers. "We're very fortunate that we have a lot of depth in relief, not only here but at Triple-A [Memphis]. A lot of this can be addressed internally."
Isringhausen's absence for an undetermined time creates a ripple effect that calls for other bullpen members to settle into roles they couldn't have even envisioned when Isringhausen started the year as the reliable closer Cardinals fans have come to know.
But Ryan Franklin had gravitated toward the defined closer's role recently, when Isringhausen had the ninth-inning responsibilities removed following five losses and six blown saves.
Now, Isringhausen is out of the bullpen mix entirely and Franklin knows he is the closer for the foreseeable future. Other bullpen members will fall in line and establish roles under the watchful eyes of manager Tony La Russa and pitching coach Dave Duncan.
It's an in-house approach that the Cardinals feel will get them back on a smooth course after the Isringhausen bump in the road.
"As far as how we'll use [Russ] Springer and [Kyle] McClellan, it doesn't change that much from what it was a week ago," Mozeliak said. "Adding [Chris] Perez into that mix gives Tony a different look to throw out there. That's how he and I talked about it this morning."
Robert Falkoff is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.