Controversial ex-Ray Dukes released by Nats
UPDATE, 12:14: No surprise that there was some more to this story. Nats GM Mike Rizzo's comments clearly indicated that when he said that the Nats "will be a more cohesive, united group" without Dukes. "The clubhouse will be more united,'' Rizzo said. "We'll have a better feel around the ballclub. We'll gain just by that alone." Rizzo also said they tried repeatedly to find a trade partner during the winter for Dukes but no team was interested.
UPDATE, 10:57: Nats manager Jim Riggleman said it was a strictly a baseball decision: "We like some of our other options in right field, really. Elijah was great."
UPDATE, 10:52: Jim Bowden, who was GM of the Nats at the time of the deal and now does a show on SIRIUS XM radio, had a couple of interesting Twitter posts on the news.
First, "E.Dukes was given opportunities most people dream about. He was given support and understanding at high levels and still failed. Sad"
Then, "After latest incident, credit Nats for making the right decision. They told him zero tolerance and followed their word."
There also was this Twitter post from Jeff Passan of Yahoo: "I believe this is the equivalent of the Nationals saying to Elijah Dukes' career: "You dead, dawg."
DEVELOPING: Controversial former Rays OF Elijah Dukes, who appeared to have found a home with the Nationals and was projected as their starting rightfielder, was unexpectedly released today.
There hasn't been any detail in the reports yet by the Nats writers, but the news caught them off-guard as well. Dukes, who attended high school and lives in the Tampa area, had a long history of controversy off the field and around the teams. The Rays decided they had enough and traded him for a low-level minor-league pitcher in December 2007.