Extra work suits Cardinals' Franklin
Monday's two simulated innings a spring norm for closer
JUPITER, Fla. -- It's long been known that nothing is accidental in a Tony La Russa Spring Training workout. Veterans hit with veterans, unproven youngsters with unproven youngsters. Infielders work in groups with each other, as do outfielders.
And then there was this seeming oddity on Monday's schedule: Kyle Lohse pitched two simulated innings in live batting practice, alternating stints on the mound with ... closer Ryan Franklin. However, it's not so odd after all, since Franklin has worked out like a starting pitcher in the early stages of every spring he's been with the Cardinals.
Franklin threw two simulated innings on Monday, just like Lohse, to two groups of hitters. One group featured the likely 3-4-5-6 hitters in the St. Louis lineup this year: Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday, Ryan Ludwick and Colby Rasmus. And Franklin handled them well, allowing only one piece of contact that looked like a base hit.
"My last live BP, on a scale of 1-10, I was a 10, I think," Franklin said. "I missed like two spots. Today, I went back down to about a seven. I was fighting it a little bit today. They're good guys to go up against to see where you're at, but I wasn't as happy today as I was three days ago."
Franklin will work more than an inning at a time when games start, as well. That's been the pattern going back to 2007, when he competed for a starting job before being moved to the bullpen. Since he had a successful '07 season, the Cardinals saw no reason to change his routine. Franklin feels that it helps him get his repertoire ready. He throws approximately six different pitches.
"I think it helps me start strong, get off to a good start," he said. "I think it helps me come out of the gates ready to go."
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.