Dukes apologizes to Acta, teammates
Outfielder called meeting to discuss dugout misunderstanding
SEATTLE -- Before Thursday's game against the Pirates, Nationals outfielder Elijah Dukes asked and was granted to hold a team meeting. He formally apologized to manager Manny Acta and his teammates for the misunderstanding that occurred between Dukes and the skipper during the ninth inning of Tuesday's game.
According to baseball sources at the team meeting on Thursday, Dukes said it was in the heat of the moment and he wanted everyone pumped during Tuesday's game, which the Nationals won, 7-6.
All has been forgiven.
"(Elijah) held this meeting on his own. It was his idea," said one baseball source that was at the meeting.
In the top of the ninth inning of Tuesday's game, TV cameras showed Acta dressing down Dukes in the dugout.
The confrontation came a few minutes after Lastings Milledge hit a two-run homer, scoring Dukes ahead of him. According to baseball sources, Acta was not angry with Dukes for showboating with Milledge near home plate after the home run. There was a miscommunication in the dugout. Dukes thought that Acta didn't want to shake his hand.
After Nationals closer Jon Rauch was able to record the final out of the game, Dukes refused to shake Acta's hand. A few minutes later, Acta, Dukes and general manager Jim Bowden had a closed-door meeting and settled the issue.
Dukes has been one of the hottest hitters on the Nationals. Entering Friday's action, Dukes is 18-for-59 (.305) in his past 18 games.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.