Franklin, Cards talking extension

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals and National League saves leader Ryan Franklin are negotiating a two-year contract extension that could allow him to end his career in St. Louis.

The 36-year-old Franklin made the All-Star team for the first time this season, and is 34 for 36 in save opportunities with a 2-1 record and 1.07 ERA in his first full season as a closer. He had saves in 10 consecutive outings for the NL Central leaders entering Friday night's game against the Washington Nationals.

"He's a big reason we're in a great position right now," manager Tony La Russa said. "He's the kind of guy that I don't think is distracted by security and finances, I think he really enjoys competing and having an important job."

The right-hander is in the final season of a two-year extension he signed in July 2007 when he was the setup man for Jason Isringhausen, and the Cardinals have an $2.75 million option for 2010. Franklin said he and the Cardinals have been talking for a couple of months about a new deal, which would replace the terms of the option year.

"It's getting pretty close," Franklin said. "Both sides are going to be happy and maybe I can finish my career here."

Franklin joined the Cardinals in 2007 hoping to compete for a spot in the rotation. He replaced Isringhausen twice last year and led the team with 17 saves in 25 chances. He took over as closer early this season after rookie Jason Motte faltered.

Franklin said that if someone had suggested a few years ago that he would become a closer he'd have responded, "Are you crazy?"

"Things happen for a reason," he said. "I've always been pretty fortunate to have what my dad used to call a rubber arm, and be able to bounce back."

Mitchell Boggs gets another spot start on Saturday in place of Kyle Lohse, who is on the 15-day disabled list after tweaking his groin. Lohse felt fine a few days after being hurt on Aug. 22, but La Russa said the team couldn't have waited.

"We just don't have the luxury of protecting that spot, not when we're in contention," the manager said. "I'm sure he's happy he's healthy and not going to have something lingering, and gets out of shape."

Todd Wellemeyer, also on the DL with elbow inflammation, threw a second bullpen session Friday and could go on a rehab assignment soon.