Baseball

Cardinals, Franklin nearing contact extension

The St. Louis Cardinals are close to signing National League saves leader Ryan Franklin to a new contact.

The St. Louis Cardinals are close to signing National League saves leader Ryan Franklin to a new contact.

Franklin, 36, who leads the NL with 34 saves, and the Cardinals are set to sign a two-year contact extension.

The reliever is enjoying a career season, going 34 for 36 in save opportunities while posting a 2-1 record with a 1.07 ERA. Franklin has also saved 10 straight games heading into Friday night's contest 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 last season of a two-year contact he signed in 2007, a time when he was the setup man for closer Jason Isringhausen.

The Cardinals have a club option for 2010, but Franklin said he has been in talks with the team on a new deal for a few months.

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

With files from the Associated Press

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