Elijah Dukes and Carl Everett are independent ball teammates

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Elijah Dukes is a 26-year-old former top prospect with good speed, experience in all three outfield spots, and a .771 OPS in 240 career games, but he’s apparently such a horrible human being that no MLB team is willing to even sign him to a minor-league contract and stash him at Triple-A.
Dukes has been out of work since the Nationals surprisingly released him during spring training and yesterday he signed with the Newark Bears of the independent Atlantic League.
It’s often said in sports that being talented trumps being a bad guy and that’s definitely true for star-caliber players, but Dukes is providing an example of how that isn’t always the case for merely good players. At the very least he’d be a solid, cheap fourth outfielder and could certainly start for plenty of teams, but when the upside is “good regular” rather than “perennial All-Star” the 30 general managers have seemingly decided it’s not worth the hassle. And it’s tough to blame them.
Former big leaguers Willie Banks, Daryle Ward, Edgardo Alfonzo, Scott Spiezio, Brian Barton, and Vince Perkins are also listed on the Newark roster, but here’s the really amazing part: Dukes is now teammates with Carl Everett. I suspect that within the first week they’ll either become inseparable lifelong friends or kill each other following an argument about dinosaurs.

Video: Aledmys Diaz hits a grand slam in remembrance of Jose Fernandez

ST. LOUIS, MO - JULY 21: Aledmys Diaz #36 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits an RBI single against San Diego Padres in the sixth inning at Busch Stadium on July 21, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Cardinals shortstop Aledmys Diaz was childhood friends with Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, so it was expected when Diaz took time away from the team on Monday to visit Fernandez’s family in Miami. They grew up on the same street in Cuba and played for the same youth baseball team and both would ultimately wind up playing Major League Baseball in the United States.

In the bottom of the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Reds, Diaz hit a 2-1 Robert Stephenson fastball out to left-center field for a no-doubt grand slam. Teammate Yadier Molina gave Diaz a tight hug as he crossed home plate.

Before Tuesday’s game, Diaz said that the best way to honor Fernandez was to play with his passion, as MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports. Diaz said, “I only play for [Fernandez’s] family right now.”

Here’s the video.

AL East still mathematically undecided as Red Sox lose, Blue Jays win

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 27:  David Price #24 of the Boston Red Sox pitches in the first inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on September 27, 2016 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
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The Red Sox would have clinched the AL East if one of two things happened on Tuesday night: the Red Sox themselves beat the Yankees, or the Orioles defeated the Blue Jays. Neither happened.

The Jays soundly took down the Orioles 5-1 behind six strong innings from Aaron Sanchez. Josh Donaldson went 2-for-2 with a two-run home run and a pair of walks and leadoff batter Ezequiel Carrera went 2-for-3 with a solo homer, an RBI single, a walk, and three runs scored.

Meanwhile, at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees outlasted the Red Sox for a 6-4 win, responding to both two-run innings the Sox had in the sixth and seventh with a run in the sixth and two in the seventh. Gary Sanchez hit his 20th homer of the season. Didi Gregorius and Tyler Austin also contributed dingers. Starter Luis Cessa pitched well, limiting the Sox to two runs over six innings on five hits and a walk with two strikeouts. Red Sox starter David Price struggled, yielding six runs in 6 1/3 innings. Yankees reliever Tyler Clippard got into trouble in the ninth inning but was able to wiggle out of trouble to finish out the game.

Once again, the Red Sox will be able to clinch the AL East on Wednesday with a win over the Yankees or a Blue Jays loss to the Orioles.