Franklin a work in progress

Franklin a work in progress

ST. LOUIS -- Ryan Franklin's manager has his back, but Franklin knows he's not where he needs to be yet.

Following a rough season debut against the Rockies on Tuesday night, in which he was charged with two runs without retiring a batter, Franklin acknowledged that he's still something of a work in progress at this point. The right-hander had an up-and-down spring, coming on at the end but still finishing with a 5.84 ERA and six walks in 12 1/3 innings.

"My mechanics don't feel all the way right, but I know what it is," Franklin said on Tuesday night. "It's just a matter of doing it."

Franklin issued at least one walk in five of his first spring outings, then didn't hand out another free pass for the remainder of Grapefruit League play. He was definitely getting closer, but Tuesday can only be considered a setback. Franklin permitted a single and a double, watched Matt Holliday reach on a fielder's choice and an error, then walked the bases loaded before he was removed.

Manager Tony La Russa said Wednesday that he has full faith in Franklin, though. Franklin needs to be good for the Cardinals. He was the primary setup man in a bullpen that was one of the team's bright spots in 2007, and he's expected to fill the same job in 2008.

"I just think he made a bad pitch," La Russa said. "He'll be fine. I think he's close -- I think he's there. I'm ready to give him the ball again."

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.