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.

Phillies owner John Middleton is in Las Vegas with Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper
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Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.

Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.

As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.