(AP Photo. Not even the Little League Moms could save Elijah Dukes this time.)
Operation De-Bowdenization rumbles along...
Austin Kearns, Ronnie Belliard somehow survive Mike Rizzo's axe for another day.
Rizzo and Manny Acta say it's for Dukes' own good, but we don't believe they believe that for a second. Our "sources" with no knowledge of the situation say there's a 50/50 chance you'll never see Elijah Dukes in a Washington Nationals uniform again.
"I didn't see the consistent at-bats I wanted Elijah to have. I think he understands this is a developmental process... He can use this time to right himself down there."
(Mike Rizzo, via Nationals Journal, 7/1/2009)
"He's not a finished product. Obviously, he was in a little bit of a slump the last month here. He needs to get down there and get his swing back. But for the most part, just work on his overall game. He's still very young and talented, and that's basically it. I don't think we were going to be doing him any help by just sitting him here."
(Manny Acta, via Chatter, 7/1/2009)
And so, it's the beginning of the end of the Elijah Dukes Era in D.C. Manny Acta hates him (or, rather, strongly dislikes him, since, as Manny pointed out on his blog yesterday, "I try not to use the hate word in my vocabulary."). Mike Rizzo hates him. And his teammates...well, we're guessing the Nationals clubhouse is a happier place today.
Then there's this interesting tidbit from the Washington Times' Mark Zuckerman. Dukes showed up late to work today just before learning of his demotion. Maybe he should've called in sick?
There is one other angle to all this, of course, and that is Dukes' non-playing issues. There are still plenty of people in the organization that don't believe he has the right attitude to succeed up here. And that feeling was only strengthened when Dukes reported late to the ballpark this morning. Yep, players were supposed to be dressed by 10 a.m. Dukes didn't arrive until after that, at which point he was told of his demotion. (via Chatter, 7/1/2009)