Dukes apologizes for Shea antics
Outfielder: 'I basically let my emotions get the best of me'
MIAMI -- Elijah Dukes seemed to be in another world the last time the Nationals played.
The Nats outfielder took exception to a Mike Pelfrey pitch that almost hit him on Wednesday and then got into it with Mets fans at Shea Stadium the rest of the night.
Before the series opener against the Marlins, Dukes -- who was in the lineup for Friday night's game, playing right field and batting fifth -- met with skipper Manny Acta and general manager Jim Bowden for about five minutes.
Afterwards, he came out with a statement.
"I just wanted to apologize to my teammates and the Nationals organization and the fans for my actions in the game on Wednesday," said Dukes, who wouldn't take any follow-up questions. "I basically let my emotions get the best of me, and it was just tough to take in what I had to endure, and I just shouldn't have done it. I just wanted to apologize about it."
In the fourth inning, after hitting a home run in his previous at-bat, Dukes was brushed back by a Pelfrey fastball and had to be restrained from charging the mound. Then, after scoring on Wil Nieves' RBI single later that inning, the Mets fans booed, and Dukes made an obscene gesture directed at the crowd. Later, Dukes stuck his tongue out at the fans after lining out and, after grounding out in the ninth, the 24-year-old Homestead, Fla., native waved his arms at the crowd and blew them a kiss.
The team would not say whether Dukes was fined or received any other sort of disciplinary action.
"We've handled the situation internally, and we're going to leave it internal," Bowden said.
Dukes entered the three-game series against Florida batting .275, with 11 home runs and 37 RBIs. Over his last eight games, Dukes is hitting .313 (10-for-32) with three home runs and eight RBIs.
Dukes' talent has always been well known, but on-and-off-the-field incidents have marred the right-handed-hitting slugger since he was drafted in 2002.
"I think it was good that he understood that it has no place in baseball and it was wrong," Acta said. "It was good that he came out and apologized to the team and the fans. And as long as he understands that it's not the right thing to do, and it's not going to be tolerated here, because we do need to send a message to the kids coming here that it's not going to be acceptable.
"We all know that he's working on [his attitude]. And this is a good step that he acknowledged it was wrong."
Alden Gonzalez is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.