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Friday, April 25, 2008
Dukes cleans cages at zoo, granted release on probation

ESPN.com news services

TAMPA, Fla. -- Washington Nationals outfielder Elijah Dukes spent 25 hours during the past week cleaning cages and mopping at an area zoo as part of a deal to shorten his probation on a previous drug charge, the St. Petersburg Times reported.

Elijah Dukes

Dukes

A judge agreed to terminate Dukes' supervision on Thursday as a result of Dukes satisfying the community service requirements of his probation with his work at the Lowry Park Zoo. Dukes was sentenced to one year probation in September after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge.

Attorney Grady Irvin and a team official for the Nationals, who traded for Dukes in December, said Dukes had also passed weekly drug tests for six months.

"You are in a wonderful position to be such a positive influence on so many young people that these are the kinds of things that prevent you from being that example," Hillsborough County Judge John Conrad told Dukes, according to the report. "With great gifts I think you have great responsibilities as well. I'm hoping this experience, albeit for six months ... will at least set a positive turn for your future."

The Tampa Bay Rays traded Dukes to the Nationals during the offseason after a string of incidents, including allegations by his estranged wife that he had threatened her and her children. He has been on the disabled list since March 31 with a strained hamstring.