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Dukes reports

Feb 25, 2010, 3:20 PM EDT

VIERA, Fla. — Just to update everyone, I’m told Elijah Dukes has reported and is getting his physical done today.

  1. Anonymous8 - Feb 25, 2010 at 3:33 PM

    Mark, he was spotted there yesterday. Let's not make news of something that isn't news.The real news is what he learned in Winter Ball and how he reacts to breaking balls and pitches on the outside corner.

  2. JayB - Feb 25, 2010 at 3:54 PM

    He had all of 8 at bats in Winter Ball…that is the real news….I would have expected he would have been in camp for several weeks now since he decided not to go back to Winter ball OR Licey would not take him back….Mark did we ever get the correct version of that story?

  3. NatsNut - Feb 25, 2010 at 4:35 PM

    Whew. I was worried about him. I'm rooting for Dukes the most this season.Well….along with Flores, Olsen, Chico, Stammen, etc.,

  4. Anonymous - Feb 25, 2010 at 4:44 PM

    Willingham will report on Sunday.

  5. Steve M. - Feb 25, 2010 at 4:50 PM

    Like JayB and Anon8 said, the news is what Dukes will do with his bat. I want to know if he had been working out on his own and why he couldn't grace us with an appearance a few days early. Sure, he is on time but he is a guy with something to prove. My guess is that he felt his time with Licey was a needed experience and I will give him the benefit of any doubt after the tragic death of his father. I appreciated the comment a couple days ago from someone who knows him that he was on his way so this air of mystery seems like something journalists do to get our attention. He is there on time. Lets see what he does.

  6. Section 222 - Feb 25, 2010 at 5:17 PM

    Why is it news that Dukes reported on time? Because various posts created an expectation that he might not. Seems a bit unfair. He's there on time, let's give him a chance to show by his performance that he's been doing the necessary work during the off season. We aren't asking why all the other guys who showed up on time didn't come early. Dukes definitely has something to prove this year, and I'm sure he knows it. Let's not make assumptions about his seriousness based on whether he came to spring training early.

  7. Steve M. - Feb 25, 2010 at 5:28 PM

    Section 222. Well said. WaPo made little mention of it. It is like Strasburg. Do it on the field.In case you haven't seen Zim's video on CSN, it is good. http://www.csnwashington.com/pages/nationals

  8. Craig - Feb 25, 2010 at 6:10 PM

    Dukes did not go back to winter ball because he was spending time with his family mourning the passing of his father.Give the guy a break.

  9. Mark Zuckerman - Feb 25, 2010 at 6:10 PM

    Just to explain why I made mention of Dukes' reporting … as of this morning, the only players who had not yet been seen in the clubhouse were Willingham and Dukes. Willingham, obviously, has been busy with the newborn, and Riggleman was aware of that. He had no info on Dukes, though, and couldn't say whether Elijah had reported or not. That's why I mentioned it, and why I then made sure to put up the new post once it was confirmed that he had reported, meaning everyone on the roster is accounted for now.

  10. Jim - Feb 25, 2010 at 6:21 PM

    Let's get on with BB. I am ready to see some pitching, hitting and some real defense this season. Time for everyone to get focused and produce.

  11. Anonymous - Feb 25, 2010 at 6:26 PM

    I'll be at the Carl Barger Complex tomorrow at 8:30 AM (probably freezing) greeting the entire squad. See you in the morning Mark.

  12. JayB - Feb 25, 2010 at 6:30 PM

    Why is everyone in the Media so scared of offending on the subject of Dukes…..He is just a player…..a player that has a history of problems and under achievement.He has a very recent history of poor focus on the bases…bad defense and even worse AB's…….Team is very exposed just giving him the job….Being the last one to show is telling…..Dunn is working on his new position, Zim has been in camp for over a week…..Dukes has more to work on than anyone…..Call it like it is please…disappointing that he did not come in early and get to work with all his other teammates….Rizzo trades him before the break of camp. Again Mark, did we every get a straight story on if Licey told him do not bother to return or he choose to not go back to Winter Ball after his Dad died? Rizzo was quoted at the time saying he would return to Winter Ball and he did not.

  13. An Briosca Mor - Feb 25, 2010 at 7:04 PM

    Dukes lives in Florida. If he'd been in Viera early he'd just have been lifting weights and taking BP against some soft tosser coach, like the rest of the position players who were there were doing. Dukes could easily have been doing that at some facility near his home, for all anybody knows. Get off his back. (Would you feel better if he was late because he was talking to little leaguers?)

  14. JayB - Feb 25, 2010 at 7:09 PM

    Nope I would be happy if he hit cut off man instead of the backstop and he did not zone out and get picked off several times a week and if he could recognize an off speed pitch before he commits to swinging….working with major league coaching like Rick E would really help….

  15. Bobby Walnuts - Feb 25, 2010 at 9:57 PM

    I have been watching from the nose bleeds and wanted to comment on this.I agree with others and ABM (horrible acronym BTW). JayB you either don't have a heart or a set of balls. The man's father passed away tragically. "Capite" or as Tony Soprano says "capishe".

  16. JayB - Feb 25, 2010 at 10:58 PM

    I have a heart and two kids….my dad passed when I was 18……life sucks sometimes…I get that….Sitting at home does not help anyone after three months in my view….bottom line is MARK…what has Dukes been doing for the Month of Feb and why not come into camp with all his peers and what was the correct story from Licey? Did they tell him not to bother returning or did he tell them he was done?

  17. Andrew - Feb 26, 2010 at 12:31 AM

    JayB – Sorry to hear about your father. I am friends with Elijah, but I am not his spokesman so I am not going to even try to justify your level of entitlement into someone's personal space. Elijah arrived on time at camp and with a big smile on his face. He loves baseball. As I posted a few days ago. We are always in touch. I can tell you for certain he has been working out JayB. We were discussing last month that he has been doing a lot of aerobic type excercising as well as work in the batting cage.For more specifics, why don't you submit an Elijah Dukes question (as your $60 level question) to Mark Zuckerman.

  18. Andrew - Feb 26, 2010 at 12:47 PM

    Bill Ladson wrote this on his Blog… Outfielder Elijah Dukes arrived in Viera, Fla. on Wednesday. He took his physical Thursday before going to Space Coast Stadium to work out. Dukes is in great shape and said his knees are not bothering him, thanks to daily exercises. "I have to ride a bike a lot. I have to basically stretch two to three times a day in order to keep my flexibility," Dukes said. Although Riggleman announced that Dukes is his right fielder in 2010, the latter said, "At the same time, I'm not laying back. I'm going at it every day in Spring Training."

  19. JayB - Feb 26, 2010 at 2:29 PM

    Andrew….please know that we all want Dukes to reach his potential. We all want him to help the team win….in baseball to win you have to play as a team and contribute to the team effort. Defense, not giving up outs and not giving runners extra bases and not being a easy out at the plate are all things he needs to work on. Working on the bike does nothing to address these issues. Hitting in the cage on his own is not going to help him at all. Working with MLB coaches to address the weakness in his game is what is needed. Baseball is a team sport and Dukes being the only one (save Josh W.) not to show put early just continues to set him apart from everyone else. He had a choice to make and he made it….in my view it was a short sighted decision to "do it on my own".

  20. Steve M. - Feb 26, 2010 at 4:35 PM

    JayB, what has Josh Willingham done in the off season to do better on defense and get his stamina up so he doesnt fall off at the end of the season in a HUGE dump like last year?Why dont you ask the same questions of him? I would take Duke's stats for August and September over Willingham's and definitely Dukes defense. Dukes was a RBI machine after the All-Star game last year and ended up with 58 in only 364 ABs. Willingham had 61 in 427 ABs and think of how many bases loaded RBIs Willingham had in the 5 hole!Heres the thing. Position players were set to report this week. If Riggleman or Rizzo had any concerns with Dukes then they should have asked him to report early. He went to Licey as he was told. He reported on time to Viera.

  21. Steve M. - Feb 26, 2010 at 4:42 PM

    Andrew, it is good that you are a friend with Dukes as friends need to watch each others backs. I think you are the same guy I met in the players parking lot after the game at the Redskins game as you were with Cooley and Zimmerman the game that Cooley broke his ankle. Hope I have the right Andrew.Anyway, its good to see a positive attitude among all the doom & gloom sometimes!

  22. JayB - Feb 26, 2010 at 5:22 PM

    8 AB's is not really going to help at Licey…..Willingham never got picked off 1st base what 3 times in a week I think…..Willingham hits the cut off man….Willingham has proven he can take a curve ball outside the strike zone. Willingham's wife had a child the day of reporting……not the same thing as…..Dukes walking in saying I have been working hard on my own and that should help….what he is saying it seems is I do not need anyone to coach me, I will do it all my own way….which is the problem he has had all along isn't it really?

  23. TBC - Feb 26, 2010 at 5:50 PM

    I think everyone (including Dukes) knows that this is a make-or-break season for him. But for someone to already be running him down even before he's had the chance to come to spring training and prove his worth – and by also casting him in an unfavorable light against teammates who are working equally hard with him – seems to me to be rather racist, actually.

  24. JayB - Feb 26, 2010 at 6:46 PM

    Racist….not a chance….I lived in Kenya for 4 years as adolescence…I was the only white student in my local government school….I understand racism…that is why I am not shying away from calling it like it is….He needs to improve his baseball IQ….a lot…he needs to improve his teamwork and his fundamental approach to the game to be a valuable member of a team that is going to win the World Series. Those are the facts…he can do that with MLB coaching, more time away from camp.

  25. JayB - Feb 26, 2010 at 6:47 PM

    "NOT"…more time away from camp working on his own.

  26. TBC - Feb 26, 2010 at 7:23 PM

    Dukes was in camp when camp started. I fail to see the problem with that.

  27. JayB - Feb 26, 2010 at 7:36 PM

    Lost opportunity is the problem….Failure to manage risk by Nats…now they have a hope in RF…that type of approach is what leads to 100 losses each year. I would not just give Dukes the job until he has proven he has earned it….If all his work on his own does not change the facts from his past 3 years then it will be too late to find a MLB ready replacement for RF.

  28. TBC - Feb 26, 2010 at 7:42 PM

    Interesting that you hold the black player Dukes in contempt for not doing these things, but don't seem to find it a problem that the white guy Willingham didn't do them either. Methinks thou dost protest too much.

  29. JayB - Feb 26, 2010 at 7:48 PM

    You don't know much about baseball do you….are you trying to tell me Willingham and Dukes are on a par for baseball IQ, Focus and Fundamentals….really…did you watch any games last year…..

  30. Anonymous - Feb 26, 2010 at 7:54 PM

    TBC, I smell a rat too. Maybe subconciously although his Kenyan story is great. Next JB will say he climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro if you talk about good excercise. If you ask the questions of Dukes then you have to ask the same questions of Willingham. What did Josh do in the off-season to better himself?Personally I think it is a moot point. JayB is stirring the pot for the sake of stirring the pot.I am hoping everyone does so well this Spring that the Nats have an excruciating task of coming up with the 25 man.I dont know how Dukes will do this season as I dont know how Willingham will do. I just hope both do better as that will translate to more WINS!

  31. TBC - Feb 26, 2010 at 8:23 PM

    "You don't know much about baseball do you….are you trying to tell me Willingham and Dukes are on a par for baseball IQ, Focus and Fundamentals"That's not the question. If you're trying to tell me that the black player needs to work harder in the offseason to improve than the white player does, that's racist. Weren't you the main guy on Milledge's case last year? And Acta too, for that matter? When have you ever come down hard on a white player? They can't all be perfect, can they?

  32. JayB - Feb 26, 2010 at 8:25 PM

    Kilimanjaro is in Tanzania…but I have been to the base of Mount Kenya if that helps your delusions….Oh and I am not a Josh W Fan by the way…if they can trade him they should do it…Defense is what this team needs almost as much as attention to detail and Baseball IQ…..Dukes just needs to work on hitting a cut off man and staying awake on the bases….He could develop into a good player…at least he plays hard.

  33. JayB - Feb 26, 2010 at 8:44 PM

    Yup and I was right about Milledge and Acta…both hurt the team. Team improved greatly once they both were gone. Dunn killed us in LF…just about the worst LF I have ever seen….think he is white right? Color of skin has nothing at all to do with baseball people.Baseball is what I know and baseball is what I love. Dunn was in camp weeks early working on learning to play 1st Base with MLB coaching staff…I like that….good start.

  34. Anonymous - Feb 26, 2010 at 8:53 PM

    JayB said… Kilimanjaro is in Tanzania…Did I say it wasn't? I know which country Mt. Kilimanjaro is in. I figured since you lived in Kenya you took the drive to Kilimanjaro possibly the trek.

  35. JayB - Feb 26, 2010 at 9:04 PM

    That is not a drive you did lightly….guess you have not been there or driven those roads.

  36. Anonymous - Feb 26, 2010 at 9:37 PM

    JayB, we flew into Nairobi to join up with a tour about 8 years ago. This is why I never complain about roads around here.You can see Kilimanjaro so clear flying into Nairobi so the drive is deceiving. Trying to remember it took like over 3 hours. Well worth it when you get there.

  37. JayB - Feb 27, 2010 at 12:14 AM

    I lived there in the 70's….roads were dirt in many cases.

  38. Andrew - Feb 27, 2010 at 12:38 AM

    Steve M. – Yes, that was me and thanks.

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