CHICAGO -- Tampa Bay rookie outfielder Elijah Dukes was back
in the lineup Friday at Chicago after missing two games amid
allegations that he threatened to kill his estranged wife and their
two young children.
Dukes was in center field and batting leadoff as the Devil Rays
opened a three-game series against the White Sox.
"I chose tonight because I felt it was time to move things
along," manager Joe Maddon said. "He's a member of this team. I
thought about it a lot, talked to [executive vice president Andrew
Friedman] about it a lot. I just want to get back to playing
baseball and put this thing behind us.
"A lot of thought has gone into this," he continued. "I won't
deny that I've lost sleep over it because I have."
Dukes declined comment before the game.
The St. Petersburg Times reported Wednesday that Dukes'
estranged wife NiShea Gilbert filed for court protection after
receiving a threatening message on her cell phone on May 2, as well
as a text message that included a picture of a handgun. Dukes also
threatened the children's safety in the phone message, which
Gilbert played for the paper.
Gilbert, a middle school teacher, said Dukes showed up at her
classroom on April 30 while her students were at lunch and
Dukes was batting .231 with eight home runs and 13 RBIs entering
Friday's game. Maddon said the Devil Rays have not discussed fining
or suspending him.