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Dukes resurfaces in Newark

Jul 1, 2010, 11:00 PM EDT

Elijah Dukes, out of baseball since the Nationals released him during spring training, has signed with the Newark Bears of the independent Atlantic League.

Since his surprising release on March 17, Dukes had been looking for an opportunity to play elsewhere. No other major-league organization was willing to take a chance on the 26-year-old with declining offensive numbers and a shaky reputation around the sport, so he ultimately settled on a Newark club that has boasted a number of prominent former big-leaguers over the years.

Dukes will be joining a Bears roster that already includes Carl Everett and Daryle Ward.

  1. Anonymous - Jul 1, 2010 at 11:39 PM

    We will never know the real reason Dukes was released by the Nats but I am sure it was NOT just for his on the field performance, as management claimed. Something had to happen that the Nats aren't talking about. Proof positive that this is the case is that no other major league team would touch him with a ten foot pole.

  2. Anonymous - Jul 2, 2010 at 1:42 AM

    I'm a Nats fan who actually lives in Newark. (I grew up in DC.) I've seen Rickey Henderson play as a Bear–it'll be fun watching Dukes. The park is nice. It's not like the "real" minors. In every game, there are usually one or two old ex ML hitters whose game is mostly gone but whose power has not. They can still hit it further than most 22-year-olds, if they connect. Does anybody remember Hector Villaneuva? If Dukes can take the frustration of unaffiliated minor league play, maybe he can make it back to the bigs. He certainly has the raw talent. I wish him well.

  3. natsfan1a - Jul 2, 2010 at 2:57 AM

    Good luck to him.

  4. Steve M. - Jul 2, 2010 at 3:05 AM

    Elijah Dukes has too much talent to be out of baseball. Good luck to him!

  5. Richard - Jul 2, 2010 at 4:04 AM

    Nats fans can come and see Dukes when the Newark Bears come to Waldorf, MD to play the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs (also of the Atlantic League) manage by former Red Sox Butch Hobson on August 9-12. The Bears are manage by Tim Raines. Just a short drive south of D.C.

  6. Anonymous - Jul 2, 2010 at 4:09 PM

    Hey Mark (et al)-How many players make it back to the majors from Independent Leagues? I don't remember the Nats ever signing anyone from there–and we've done some dumpster diving.But I guess if John Halama can make it back out with the As, it's not a complete graveyard.

  7. Anonymous - Jul 2, 2010 at 5:14 PM

    Hey, isn't Nook a Bear too?

  8. Anonymous - Jul 2, 2010 at 6:28 PM

    I was just wondering the other day what ever happened to Daryle Ward (probably while watching another Willie Harris pinch hitting appearance). I'd love to still have that guy coming off our bench. Still remember the monster home run he hit against the Yankees during that memorable Father's Day series a couple of years ago.

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