ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Tampa Bay rookie outfielder Elijah Dukes was out of the lineup for the second straight game Thursday
after a published report that he made threats against his estranged
Manager Joe Maddon said he expected Dukes, who was in uniform
for an afternoon game against Seattle, to play during a weekend
series that begins Friday in Chicago. Maddon would not say if Dukes
would resume his role as the starting center fielder.
"I just thought about it a lot and thought it was appropriate
to do it this way," Maddon said, adding that his decision was not
affected by the type of reaction Dukes might draw from the crowd at
"When you're in a position of having to make decisions, to me
it's about what you perceive to be the right thing to do at a
particular moment," Maddon said. "Taking all the factors into
consideration at this moment, I really believe this is the right
way to do it."
NiShea Gilbert sought a restraining order earlier this month
after receiving a threatening message on her cell phone, as well as
a text message that included a picture of a handgun.
Gilbert also gave the St. Petersburg Times an account of an
April 30 incident at the middle school where she teaches, saying
the 22-year-old Dukes threatened her at her classroom while the
students were at lunch.
Team president Matt Silverman said the Devil Rays were aware
that Dukes' marriage was ending but that details contained in the
published report "were news to us."
Silverman called them "troubling and very serious," but said
the team was committed to "doing all that we can to help Elijah
through what is a very difficult time in his personal life."