Big League Stew - MLB

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Washington Nationals Rehabilitation Program took its newest – and toughest – client Monday when they acquired troubled outfielder Elijah Dukes from the Tampa Bay Rays for minor league left-handed pitcher Glenn Gibson. 

Dukes, who allegedly threatened to kill his ex-wife and their kids earlier this year and has run into myriad problems with drugs and discipline, joins Lastings Milledge as the latest young and extremely talented player with attitude issues brought in by Washington.

The Rays have tried to offload the 23-year-old Dukes since the middle of the season, when they placed him on the inactive list. Dukes was hitting .190, though his 10 home runs led rookies at the time, and he's got tremendous plate discipline, a cannon arm and all the physical tools to succeed.

Mentally ... well, that's another story. Nationals GM Jim Bowden fancies himself Father Flanagan, it seems, and the Nationals held a meeting today with Dukes and first baseman Dmitri Young, as Barry Svrluga notes.

Can't imagine the tenor of that meeting.

Nats: Elijah, are you done beating women?

Dukes: Yes, sir. 

Nats: Elijah, you still getting high every day?

Dukes: No, sir.

Nats: Elijah, do you promise not to get in the face of umpires like you did in the Dominican Republic earlier this week? You know, the place where you're trying to rehabilitate your reputation and show you're not insane?

Dukes: Yes, sir.

Nats: Welcome to Washington! 

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