Dukes faces jail if payments not made

Updated: January 15, 2009, 1:50 AM ET
Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. -- Washington Nationals outfielder Elijah Dukes was told by a judge to make about $40,000 in court-ordered payments to his estranged wife by Jan. 23 or face a 90-day jail sentence, the St. Petersburg Times reported on its Web site Wednesday.

"The Nationals have been kept abreast of Elijah Dukes' financial situation through his advisors, agents and attorneys. When we acquired the player, we were aware that his obligations exceeded his income," Nationals general manager Jim Bowden said in a statement issued by a team spokesman.

Dukes had various on- and off-field problems, including arrests for assault and for marijuana possession, before the Nationals got him in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays before the 2008 season.

During his time in Tampa Bay's organization, Dukes was suspended both in the majors and the minors for various confrontations with umpires, coaches and teammates.

In May 2007, he was held out of two games after the St. Petersburg Times reported his estranged wife sought court protection when Dukes allegedly left a threatening message on her cell phone and sent a text message that included a picture of a gun.

In his first season with Washington, Dukes batted .264 with 13 homers and 44 RBIs in 276 at-bats.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press