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November 14, 2007 at 12:28 am ET
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The Redemption Of Elijah Dukes: Nationals Interested? — Plus YouTube of Dominican HR #2

What we changed
Was innocence for innocence; we knew not
The doctrine of ill-doing, nor dreamed
That any did.



Interesting eyebrows.Last Tuesday, Elijah Dukes returned to the field after a brief trip back to the States. Monday, in his 5th game back, 13th overall, he went yard for the second time. The first inning solo shot off came off Havana-born Braves minor leaguer Francisley Bueno (who appears to have a unibrow in a photo found on The Braves Show). The homer is right at the beginning of the YouTube up top.

According to one report from the Dominican Republic published Wednesday on 7días.com.do, the Washington Nationals are very interested in our hero, Elijah Dukes.

The Nats were supposedly interested in Dukes last season, but the report especially makes sense given that the Nats third base coach Tim Tolman is managing Dukes in the Dominican. Other highlights from my rough translation of the article:

  • Last week, Nationals Manager Manny Acta came to some Licey games, partly to watch Dukes.
  • They quote an unnamed source close to talks between the Nats and D-Rays as saying: “We are going to be clear, the [Devil] Rays want Dukes to leave and there are people in Washington that think that the boy is not so problematico as they paint it.”
  • The report states Dukes himself “has commented to some of his companions in the winter league that he urgently needs to leave Tampa to reorient his career.”
  • The source says the mainly stumbling block is that the Nationals are unwilling to give up any of their top pitching prospects for Dukes

Meanwhile, it must be nice for Elijah Dukes to be playing for a team that embraces its history:Celebrating 100 years of Licey Tigres beisbol in Santo Domingo.

Yes, that was a reference to the ongoing Crusade To Save The Devil And The Soul Of Bugs & Cranks.

Also and alas, our first chance to see Elijah Dukes playing baseball again live on US TV was supposed to come last Friday, but the game was rained out. So we’ll have to wait until Sunday to catch Dukes and his Licey Tigres taking on Escogido at 4 pm on ESPN Desportes. (Escogido faced Julian Tavares and Licey’s biggest rivals Aguilas in the last Dominican game on ESPN Desportes.)

And if you missed it (sorry I was busy with the aforementioned Crusade), last Thursday the two big Tampa papers had positive quotes about Elijah’s progress from Devil Rays VP Andrew Friedman.

From The Times:

DUKES RETURN? Conventional wisdom is that the Rays are hoping troubled outfielder Elijah Dukes shows enough promise playing in the Dominican Republic that they can trade him in the winter.

But there is also a possibility that despite being dropped from the Rays roster in June due to a series of off-field and personal issues, he could rejoin the team next season.

“It’s too early to answer that; there’s a lot more that we want to go through,” Friedman said. “I will say that there have been a lot of positive strides in the last couple months, but we’ve got a ways to go.”

Friedman said the Rays have gotten “very positive” reports from officials of the Licey Tigers, for whom Dukes has hit .333 with one homer in nine games.

From The Tribune:

DUKES STILL ON TRACK: Elijah Dukes was back in town during the weekend in a pre-planned visit to deal with issues surrounding his pending divorce, ….

“The reports have been very good,” Friedman said. “And obviously, on the field, he’s having a tremendous amount of success, but that was to be expected.”

Dukes’ future with the Rays is still far from assured. A trade remains a possibility, and Friedman wouldn’t say whether Dukes would be in the mix for a big-league roster spot in the spring.

Of course, it hasn’t been all sunshine and kitties for Dukes. He has recently been nominated (unfairly in my mind) for Adam Godson’s Asshat Of The Year Award and Deadspin’s 2007 Sports Human Of The Year. And AOL Fanhouse continues to clown on him and use the word “dawg.”

All you can do, Elijah, is keeping proving ‘em wrong. One day at a time.

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One Response to “The Redemption Of Elijah Dukes: Nationals Interested? — Plus YouTube of Dominican HR #2”
  1. Tacobellmanager says:

    Oh my Lord. Dukes and Dmitri Young on the same team — the Dugout definitely wishes it had not gone over to AOL now.

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