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Updated: April 19, 2010, 1:31 AM ET

Not easy deciding when enough is enough

Ravech By Karl Ravech
ESPN
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The Chicago White Sox came into Sunday sitting in last place in the American League Central. Their offense ranks 22nd in baseball in runs scored. Carlos Quentin, an MVP type when he's going right, didn't start in a 7-4 loss Sunday against the Indians. Sitting right beside him was Andruw Jones. A.J. Pierzynski is hitting .189 with no home runs.

[+] EnlargeOrtiz
Jim Rogash/Getty ImagesDavid Ortiz has asked for patience? How much long, though, is too long to wait?

Early slumps are not uncommon, but perhaps we are beginning to get some answers to the question, "When do you start making some moves?" Or asked another way, "When does it stop being too early to do something?"

On Sunday, David Ortiz was given the day off in the Red Sox's loss at home against the Rays. He's been mired in a season-long slump, hitting .171 with no home runs. His poor start gets magnified because of who he is and where he hits in the lineup, not to mention the expectation level of the fans. J.D. Drew came into Sunday struggling even more, batting .139 with one home run, and that came on opening night. Between them, Ortiz and Drew had struck out 31 times and walked only eight.

Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez looked at his team and noticed that they weren't getting a lot of production from the top of the order, so Sunday he moved Cameron Maybin to the leadoff spot. Maybin can fly, and over his past six games he's got at least one hit in each and a total of nine hits in his past 27 at-bats. Maybin hit leadoff three times last week and batted .412. Chris Coghlan was out, and when he returned promptly went 0-for-4. Maybin's the new leadoff guy and Coghlan is hitting second.

The White Sox, Red Sox and Marlins are hardly alone in recognizing problems, but each is dealing with those problems differently. Every situation is unique to the team and the individual -- or individuals -- involved.

A general manager told me the other day about how really difficult it is to tell a player they need to sit, or even worse they are being traded. It is easy to call into talk-radio shows complaining about a player, demanding he be taken out of the lineup. What if the caller had to sit in a room with David Ortiz or Carlos Quentin, look him in the eye and say, "You are not performing and we are benching you." Much easier said into a phone than in person.

However, like nearly every profession, baseball is results oriented. When does a small sampling become a trend? When do you pull the plug on a player because as an organization you've decided you can't put up with the failures anymore? It's only the third week of April and we are beginning to get our answers.

Karl Ravech is the host of "Baseball Tonight."

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