Mar 17, 2010, 2:10 PM EDT
Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Elijah Dukes had just three hits in 20 at-bats this spring before his release today.
KISSIMMEE, Fla. — The Nationals have unconditionally released outfielder Elijah Dukes, the team announced this morning.
[UPDATE AT 11:05 A.M.] Manager Jim Riggleman says Dukes' release was strictly a baseball decision and that there were no off-field issues. The club felt Dukes would not provide the kind of production needed from an everyday right fielder and that he wouldn't benefit from either coming off the bench or playing every day at Class AAA.
Riggleman said the club has several other options in right field, including Willie Harris, Justin Maxwell and Mike Morse.
[UPDATE AT 11:55 A.M.] Riggleman on Dukes: "Players now and then fall into that category of: they're regulars in the big leagues. They're not bench players. And they're not Triple-A players. They're either going to play for you in the big leagues, or they're not going to be on the team. They need to get their at-bats as a regular, rather than coming off the bench. We didn't see that as a fit for Elijah. And we didn't see the value of having him play Triple-A baseball anymore. He's played a lot of minor-league baseball. He went down there last year, and to his credit did a fine job. But it just didn't feel like that was the path to take. I don't know how much we could have got out of that this year."
[UPDATE AT 11:57 A.M.] General manager Mike Rizzo said there was no one "singular incident" that led to Dukes' release. Rizzo did say he felt the clubhouse as it's now constructed would be better. He added that while he'll always look at outside options, he's content to moveRead more »
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