Nats' Dukes Experiment Ends

Outfielder released by the team

By Dennis Gonzalez
|  Wednesday, Mar 17, 2010  |  Updated 1:31 PM EDT
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Nats' Dukes Experiment Ends

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Outfielder Elijah Dukes has been released by the Washington Nationals -- a sudden move with about two weeks left in spring training.

Considering he was slated to be the starting right fielder, it's a big move, but going 3 for 20 with five strikeouts wasn't impressing anybody. The Nationals announced the transaction with a terse, two-sentence press release Wednesday.
 
The 25-year-old Dukes hit .242 with 31 homers and 123 RBI's in three seasons with Tampa Bay and Washington. He was limited to 188 games with the Nationals the past two seasons because of injuries. Drafted by Tampa Bay, he was considered a can't-miss prospect, unfortunately, there are no can't-misses, and he did not live up to his potential.
 
With the Nationals, Dukes appeared to have put his troubled past behind him. That past that included suspensions in the majors and the minors for various confrontations with umpires, coaches and teammates while in Tampa Bay's organization, as well as arrests for assault and marijuana possession; and paternity suits.
 
Now that he's gone, Justin Maxwell and Roger Bernadina will compete for the Opening Day starting job in right field, unless the Nationals make a last-minute acquisition.

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