Elijah Dukes arrested, accused of hitting pregnant ex-girlfriend

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Elijah Dukes’ big-league career is likely over, but the former Rays and Nationals outfielder continues to make headlines for his off-field behavior.

Dukes was arrested Wednesday night in Florida for allegedly slapping his pregnant ex-girlfriend multiple times during a verbal altercation, with Ileana Morales of the St. Petersburg Times reporting that Dukes also has outstanding warrants for contempt of court and driving with a suspended license.

According to Morales the 26-year-old former top-ranked prospect was charged with aggravated battery and is being held in jail without bond. While the alleged battery occurred at a motel, the Associated Press reports that Dukes drove to his mother’s house and was arrested there “without incident.”

Dukes was suspended multiple times while playing in the Rays’ minor-league system–including a 2007 incident in which his ex-wife accused him of threatening her and their child–and the Nationals released him following the 2009 season for what was clearly something other than purely the “baseball reasons” they cited at the time.

Pretty safe to say he’s a bigger bust as a human being than he was as a baseball player.

Diamondbacks return Rule 5 pick Tyler Jones to Yankees

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Diamondbacks’ right-hander Tyler Jones is headed back to the Yankees, the teams announced on Friday. The Diamondbacks had previously selected Jones in the Rule 5 draft last December, but elected to leave the 27-year-old off of their 40-man roster heading into the 2017 season. Rule 5 draft rules stipulate that when a player is not kept on the receiving team’s roster, the player must be offered back to his original team.

Jones signed a minor league contract with the Yankees prior to the 2016 season. He pitched to an impressive 2.17 ERA, 2.2 BB/9 and 13.2 SO/9 over 45 2/3 innings with Double-A Trenton, but was unable to make the leap to Triple-A or beyond during his stay with the organization.

Jones’ outlook with the Diamondbacks appeared slightly more promising. GM Mike Hazen described the righty as a power arm with a “good fastball and power curveball” after selecting him in the Rule 5 draft, and early reports indicated that Jones would be in the mix for a bullpen spot. A rough spring performance — underscored by his lack of experience at the Triple-A and major league levels — undid most of that confidence, however, and the Diamondbacks weren’t willing to keep him on the active roster throughout the entire 2017 season in order to acquire his control rights.

Jones is set to open the season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, per a report from the Yankees.

Derek Norris signing with the Rays

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Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown reports that Derek Norris is signing with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Norris was released by the Nationals nine days ago, made redundant by the Nats’ signing of Matt Wieters and by everyone sliding down a notch on the depth chart below him. Norris hit only .186/.255/.328 with 14 home runs and a .528 OPS for the Padres in 2016.

Still, there always seems to be a place for a backup catcher. For Norris that place is Tampa Bay.