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Elijah Dukes to rehab with Potomac

April 26, 2008 - Carolina League (CarL) - Potomac Nationals News Release

WOODBRIDGE, Va.- The Washington Nationals have announced today that outfielder Elijah Dukes will begin a rehab stint with the Potomac Nationals beginning tonight in Frederick, Md., against the Keys.

The 23-year-old was placed on the 15-day disabled list March 31 after pulling a hamstring in the Washington Nationals inaugural game at Nationals Park the night before against the Atlanta Braves. Dukes was 0-for-2 in his only two at-bats. No timetable has been set for his return to Washington.

The Homestead, Fla., native was acquired on December 3 in exchange for left-hander Glenn Gibson. He hit .190 with 10 home runs and 21 RBI in 2007 with the Tampa Bay Rays. Before being placed on the temporary inactive list June 22, Dukes was tied with Cincinnati's Josh Hamilton for most home runs hit by a rookie in the Major Leagues. He and Alex Gordon, who hit 23 homers, were the only two American League rookies to reach double-digits in homers.

Dukes has been lauded for his athletic ability since being drafted in the third round in 2002 out Hillsborough High School in Tampa, Fla. From 2004 to 2006 he was ranked as one of the top ten prospects in the Rays organization by Baseball America. Coming into 2005 as the fifth-rated prospect in the Tampa Bay farm system, Dukes batted .287 with a career-best 128 hits and cranked 18 home runs while driving in 73 runs in 120 games with the Montgomery Biscuits of the Double-A Southern League. He hit .332 with eight home runs and 34 RBI the season before in a 58-game stint at the Advanced-A level with the California League's Bakersfield Blaze after beginning the season with the Low-A Charleston River Dogs.

Dukes becomes the third member of the Washington Nationals to rehab with Potomac already this season. He joins right-handers Shawn Hill and Chad Cordero.

After dropping the opener of the three-game series with Frederick, Right-hander Adrian Alaniz (1-0, 3.60) will get the start opposite righty Kyle Schmidt (1-0, 5.40). First pitch is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. at Harry Grove Stadium.

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