Dukes back in lineup after alleged death threats against wife, 2 kids

Updated: May 25, 2007, 8:42 PM ET
Associated Press

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.

Elijah Dukes
Dukes

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 threatened her.

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.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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