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Elijah Dukes signs with independent league

Former Nationals outfielder Elijah Dukes signed with the Newark Bears of the independent Atlantic League, according to the league's official web site. The transaction marks Dukes's return to professional baseball after the Nationals suddenly released him this spring training.

The Nationals acquired Dukes, a player with prodigious raw talent and a troubled past, before the 2008 season. Last year with the Nationals, Dukes hit .250 with a .729 OPS and eight home runs in 107 games.

By Adam Kilgore  |  July 1, 2010; 7:49 PM ET
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I for one am glad to hear Elijah is going to play somewhere -- finally.

The absolute silence, not even a minor league deal, since the Nats dropped him is just not right for someone with his ability. There's some blackballing going on, and hopefully Elijah has a chance to overcome it. Combined with being a good person off the field, he certainly has the talent to earn another shot at the bigs...

Posted by: mo_dc | July 1, 2010 8:28 PM | Report abuse

mo_dc: I'm with you, someone in the Nat's orginization has said something to "scare" other team's off of Dukes the fact that it has taken this long for him to catch on is mind boggling and the NEWARK BEARS.................. yeah right, i'm pulling for you bro go get em!!

Posted by: dargregmag | July 1, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

To be clear, Elijah's gonna have to keep his nose clean and still keep the fire inside. No question he has the skills, so make some team have to take a better look, Dukes!

Posted by: mo_dc | July 1, 2010 9:22 PM | Report abuse

I hope he does well, and becomes the next Josh Hamilton.

Posted by: hansenjo | July 1, 2010 10:13 PM | Report abuse

That's it! Blame everyone. It has nothing to do with Elijah.

Posted by: tommy11599 | July 1, 2010 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Good luck to him.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 1, 2010 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Way to go Elijah! Hope you make it back to the "show" soon!

Posted by: dmacman88 | July 1, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Good Luck, Elijah.

Posted by: Naugatuck-Nats | July 1, 2010 11:20 PM | Report abuse

I agree there was silence on whatever his last transgression was, but I don't think he was "blackballed"...

This management wouldn't do that, Elijah created his circumstances on his own.

He is a highly talented player, and reminds me of a young Vlad Guerrero. I'm rooting for him too, but let's be real. He had too many issues for the new regime.

Posted by: jbfromfc | July 2, 2010 12:39 AM | Report abuse

Like many, really rooting for Elijah.

But the notion that he was blackballed is unfair to the Nats.

Three years ago, there was only 1 team in all of MLB willing to take a chance on him. When that didn't work out, how many teams did you expect to line up with offers?

His baseball skills regressed in every way in 2009. He showed over the winter of 2010 that baseball was not enough of a priority to work real hard at it. It was very evident in Viera that he was not improved.

When Rizzo released him early, he was doing him a favor, allowing him time to perhaps catch on with another team.

A re-motivated Dukes might make it back to the bigs. The Dukes of 2009 - 2010 won't ever get out of the independent league.

That said, August 9 - 12, Elijah and the Bears visit Waldorf and the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. Let's go let Elijah know we're rooting for him.

Posted by: Sunderland | July 2, 2010 4:02 AM | Report abuse

I wish him well. He's still young enough to turn it around.

Posted by: InTheCheapSeats | July 2, 2010 6:12 AM | Report abuse


Great idea about going out and rooting for Elijah.

Posted by: hansenjo | July 2, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Sunderland, that sounds like a great idea. Elijah Dukes and Darryle Ward back in the DC area on Aug 9 - 12th!

Posted by: dmacman88 | July 2, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

For those who don't know the league, I just am going to say, when living in Philly I passed bye the Camden Riversharks stadium many times and it's probably one of the nicest minor league ball parks I have ever scene.

Posted by: alex35332 | July 2, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Just to be clear, you think someone in the Nats front office is spreading lies about Dukes to keep him from getting a job elsewhere? Pretty serious charge. Why would they do that? It costs them nothing to have someone else pay him.

Or you think they aren't lies, but the Nats shouldn't tell anyone?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 2, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

I wish him well too; he seems like a decent guy; BUT, I watched most of the NATS spring training games in Florida and it was clear that he wasn't hustling like the other outfielders; he wasn't running out ground balls and looked (at times) like he was not trying. He has a lot of physical ability, but needs to work things out in his head. I hope that he does, because he could be a good ball player; but PLEASE don't blame anyone but him, he has been given lots of chances and if any club needed him and thought that he would help, it would pick him up. Please don't enable him! He needs to get his head on straight and hustle; and I hope that he does!

Posted by: Phillip258 | July 2, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

where has he been since April....I would have thought he could have joined an independent team any time he wanted...

Posted by: outrbnksm | July 2, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Good luck, Elijah. We will try to catch you somewhere along the US 301 or US 1 corridors.

Posted by: paulkp | July 2, 2010 11:59 PM | Report abuse

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