TAMPA — To get his misdemeanor probation cut short by five months, former Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Elijah Dukes spent 25 hours during the past week cleaning out cages and mopping at Lowry Park Zoo.
Attorney Grady Irvin and a team official for the Nationals, who traded for Dukes in December, said the ballplayer also passed weekly drug tests for six months.
Hillsborough County Judge John Conrad sentenced Dukes, who has been on the disabled list since March 31 with a hamstring injury, to one year of probation in the fall after Dukes pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge. Hearing Thursday that Dukes had satisfied all the conditions, the judge agreed to terminate his supervision early.
Dukes, 23, removed large diamond stud earrings and tucked his silver chain under his T-shirt before standing before the judge. The former Hillsborough High standout kept his head down throughout the hearing, looking up and smiling only after the judge granted his request.
"You are in a wonderful position to be such a positive influence on so many young people that these are the kinds of things that prevent you from being that example," Conrad said. "With great gifts I think you have great responsibilities as well. I'm hoping this experience, albeit for six months … will at least set a positive turn for your future."