The Devil Rays said in a release that they were suspending Elijah Dukes (above) indefinitely “pending a review of the incident which led to his suspension by the International League.” The 22-year-old outfielder was suspended for five games by the IL after arguing balls and strikes and then refusing to leave the field after he was ejected on July 25, a matter that wouldn’t seem to require a lot of further review. He had been scheduled to return to the lineup at Triple-A Durham Tuesday night.
It was Dukes’ second suspension of the season, and he was also placed on the temporarily inactive list in May after he was involved in an argument with Bulls hitting coach Richie Hebner. A week before the second suspension, Dukes and Bulls manager John Tamargo got into a heated argument in the dugout after the outfielder ran through a stop sign at third base.
“I have no idea when or if I’ll be back,” Dukes said in a telephone interview. “I packed up all my stuff and I’m headed home. To be honest, I don’t even know about baseball anymore. Everything is just wearing on me and this year has just been so frustrating. I’m trying to keep my nose clean and keep to myself, but things just keep getting turned around. I’m tired of it.”
The latest pothole came last week in a USA Today story reviewing the problems the three players have had this season. The story focuses on the players’ bitterness about not being in the big leagues and quotes Dukes criticizing conditions in Durham, saying in part, “Those guys up there (in the big leagues) shower in Evian. Here, we use sewer water.”
Dukes says he was misquoted by another reporter who’s trying to make him and his teammates look bad.
“I love playing in Triple-A and I’m not (ticked) off about not being in the big leagues,” he said. “If they want to give me a 10-year contract to play in Durham, I’d do it. I never said anything about my uniform being dirty or whatever. It’s a joke.”
“It’s all the same thing,” Dukes said. “They’ve all been saying that I’m a bad influence on those two guys for two years. I didn’t room with Delmon this year (Dukes was Young’s roommate at Double-A Montgomery in 2005), but still I’m the bad apple.
“I didn’t tell Delmon to throw his bat at that umpire. I didn’t tell B.J. to go driving his car after he had some drinks. I don’t even hang out with those guys. It was always just me in my apartment after games or whatever. I think I went out twice and both times I got a cab because I don’t need any more hassle than I already have on me.”