Elijah Dukes' departure from the Washington Nationals' organization during Spring Training was abrupt. No one saw it coming, but it wasn't a total surprise. The way it happened, and the little the Nationals would say about the decision only fueled speculation. A former Nats' officials' remarks clouded the issue further. In the end, it was just the story of a talented athlete who hadn't yet made the necessary adjustments to become a productive every day major leaguer. But Dukes is still just 26-years-old. There were rumors this spring that Dukes had signed on to play for the Mexican League's Tabasco Olmecas, with Boston Globe writer Nick Carfado noting in a May 2, 2010 article entitled, "Arizona is a hot spot for MLB with new law", that Dukes had, "...backed out of a deal with the Tabasco Olmecas of the Mexican League in early April after not showing up for a reporting date." "It’ll be interesting to see whether Dukes ever plays baseball again," Mr. Carfado wrote. Dukes will.
The Newark Bears announced yesterday, in an article entitled, "Bears Load Up To End First Half", that Dukes, "...[who] most recently played for the Washington Nationals in 2009, batting .250 with 8 HR and 58 RBI in 107 games," was one of three players, along with former San Francisco Giants' prospect, 28-year-old catcher Todd Jennings, and 25-year-old former Atlanta Braves' infield prospect Randy Gress, who signed on to play baseball in Newark. Dukes will play alongside former Nats' bench bat Daryle Ward and one-time Expos' outfielder Carl Everett on the Bears' roster, under the guidance of former Montreal Expos' great Tim Raines, who is in his second season as the Newark team's skipper. Welcome back to baseball, Dukes.