There's a fine line in showing the requisite amount of patience in a young, developing ballplayer, and knowing when to cut bait or otherwise make an adjustment.
A case in point is 23-year-old Carlos Gomez of the Minnesota Twins.
Plan A called for Carlos Gomez to use the 2008 season to get accustomed to the rhythms and pace of the Major League and bust out at the plate in 2009.
Plan B called for Gomez to improve his batting average in 2009, perhaps display a little more pop, and exhibit considerably more patience at the plate in order to maximize his prodigious speed on the basepaths.
Gomez's early performance in 2009, however, must be giving the Minnesota Twins pause to reassess his future.
Through the first seven games, Gomez has just three hits in 22 at-bats. He's walked just once and he's among the Major League leaders in strikeouts with nine.
The Twins organization must be wondering whether Gomez is overmatched against Major League pitching at this juncture of his career. A lifetime .251 hitter in 773 at-bats, Gomez seems to be having more trouble than last year in simply making contact.
It's not the scenario they envisioned when they obtained Gomez, along with Philip Humber, Kevin Mulvey, and Deolis Garcia in exchange for Johann Santana in February 2008. Which can't help Gomez in the least, knowing the huge expectations the Twins have vested in him.
What's Plan C if Gomez continues to struggle so mightily?
A more limited role in the Twins' lineup, perhaps as a late-inning defensive replacement?
A demotion to the minors so he can shore up his confidence?
Or will they continue to show faith in him and trust that his potential will shine through?