Rios already has stolen nine bases in addition to having a .277 batting average, so he's not the problem compared to several of his teammates who having reached base enough or hit in the clutch with any frequency.

How can you defend the coaching staff? Just as an example look at the number of players who were sent to the minors for rehab and came back hitting or pitching better only to fall back in a slump when Greg Walker or Don Cooper were in the picture. It appears they help no one. Then you have Ozzie's attitude that they are pros and should know themselves what the problem is. If that were the case, why not save a bunch of cash and get rid of them. Walker says the need to find themselves. -- Randy A.; Reno, NV

Sergio Santos is the only rookie currently on the squad, and he's pitching great. That's a tribute to him and the player development staff.

The rest of the roster has plenty of veterans who should be doing better. Let's blame Brooks Boyer. All right. Just kidding. But the players have to take responsibility for their poor performances.

Suck! That's all I can say about this team. Cut your losses, trade some guys, bring up some of the young guys. This is as bad as I can remember from the early 80's. -- Rick Rannochio

It will be tough to move several players because of their various trade veto rights.

The other problem is that several of these players are off to horrific starts, so their value won't be so great. And several of the young guys aren't ready yet. It's the perfect storm right now.

I must throw in with the others who think that working hard is not the same as being an effective hitting coach. The Sox have had trouble for several years now with hitting in critical situations. Although the team has been largely re-constructed, the problem continues. When Gordon Beckham came up last year, he may not have had a perfect swing, but he was hitting with confidence and getting on base. After Walker "helped" him, he can't seem to get a hit and he looks confused at bat. Item No. 2, Pierre. He's got to be one of the worst outfielders in the major leagues. At bat, he looks even worse. I don't know if that is Walker's fault, but he was a better hitter before he came to the Sox. Now he, too, looks confused. -- Garey Conrad; Urbanna, VA

Well, many of you asked what Walker does. So I told you he (and Mike Gellinger, the major league computer systems analyst) work endlessly with all the hitters. After Gordon widened his batting stance (under the suggestion of Walker), he went 4-for-8 before striking out in six of his next nine at-bats. Sure, the jury is out on the stance but Gordon told me before Saturday's game that he felt comfortable. I still think his swing tends to get long, although Gordon doesn't think so.

Walker was a first baseman, so he has nothing to do with Pierre's defense. And I think you'll see Juan as the designated hitter more often when Carlos Quentin is healthy and Alex Rios returns.

Do you think Jermaine Dye maybe an option for the Sox?-- Adrian Delgado; Chicago

I don't see it because it's already May, and no other teams have offered him a contract lucrative enough to satisfy him. Many people forget that the Sox were talking about a trade with Cincinnati after the 2008 season involving Reds pitcher Homer Bailey and Dye. You think the Sox didn't know something about Dye possibly slowing down?

In the 9th inning of Wednesday's game, was Andruw Jones pinch-hitting one batter too late? It's always easy to second guess, and maybe it was the righty-lefty matchup ... but Pierre had already hit into two double plays and Jones is hitting 60 points higher and is a proven RBI guy. What am I missing? -- Tim; Granger, Ind.

Tim, a lot of fans agree with you. I know it's after the fact, but I believe your wish would be granted if this situation occurred again.

The Sox would be so much better with Scott Posdesnik and Thome instead of Pierre and Kotsay. Pierre swings like he is hoping to get an infield hit. Kotsay is a No. 7 hitter, not a No. 3 hitter. I wonder if I can get some money back if I cancel my MLB package. -- Rich K; Anthem, AZ

Well, you have a pretty good Arizona State baseball team to follow.

Don't you think it's about time Ozzie makes Matt Thornton the closer? When was the last time that Bobby Jenks has had a clean inning? Every time he pitches, it always ends up being a nail biter. He hasn't been that good since he lost his velocity. He just doesn't have it any more. Time to bite the bullet. -- Jim Whalley; Southwick, MA

If the team continues its slide, I think Bobby would be a prime candidate to be dealt to a team needing a closer. But I see J.J. Putz, not Thornton, getting the nod as closer if Jenks is dealt. The decision to move Thornton to closer would be easier if Randy Williams was more dependable.

Not that you have any influence on who the Sox trot out there as their closer -- but WHY JENKS? He is horrible and has been not very good for at least three years. Why do teams -- have a guy like Matt Thornton -- who pitches one inning, gives up no runs, and then bring in Jenks. Are these short relief guys incapable of going two innings? -- Paul Bellinger

Paul, will you tell other readers that I don't make out the lineup or make pitching changes?