The Dominican Winter League's Tigres del Licey, who are currently tied with the Toros del Este, 1.0 game out of first behind the Leones del Escogido in the DWL standings, will get a boost from the return of Washington Nationals' outfielder Elijah Dukes to their lineup next week. Dukes left the DWL to go home before Thanksgiving and spend time with his father who was gravely ill and eventually passed away on November 23rd.
In just 4 games played before he left the club, Dukes was 3 for 10 with 2 HR's, 4 walks and 5 RBI's. The Nationals' 25-year-old outfielder is in the DWL to learn to hit breaking balls before he heads to Spring Training and attempts to secure the starting job in right field for 2010. According to MASNSports.com's Byron Kerr's article on Dukes entitled, "Elijah Dukes 'went to bat' for Riggleman", the 25-year-old outfielder (who'll turn 26 this June) was vocal in support of the man who'll manage the Nationals in twenty-ten, Jim Riggleman, whose agent Burton Rocks told Mr. Kerr that while Washington was conducting a search to see if Riggleman was the best man available for the job on the DC bench:
"Dukes recommended to the Nationals that they resign Riggleman and enthusiastically encouraged the team to retain him..."
Dukes hit .250 with a .337 OBP, a .393 SLG, (.729 OPS), 20 doubles, 8 HR's and 54 RBI's in 107 games in 2009, and as of now, he's penciled in as the Nationals' starting right fielder in 2010.