James Williams dismissed by Nationals
James Williams, the person responsible for keeping an eye on outfielder Elijah Dukes on and off the field, has been dismissed by the Nationals. The move occurred during the last home stand at Nationals Park.
The Nationals feel that Dukes, 25, is mature enough to take care of himself. Since his return from Triple A Syracuse last August, Dukes has been media friendly and often talks about what he needs to do to get better on the field.
He was the first to say that he needs to work on hitting breaking balls a lot better. The plan is to play Winter Ball for the Licey Tigers.
“The plan was to have James Williams close by to make sure that everything goes right,” Dukes said. “For two years, things have been going right. There is no need to continue to have James on my side all the time, when I know I can get it done myself and keep doing the right things.”
In a statement to MLB.com, Williams said he was grateful to work for the Nationals.
“My experience with the Nationals cannot be compared to any venture I ever endured,” he said. “I thank management for allowing me to be part of such a professional organization and have great respect for the players No one truly understands what they go through to be a Major League player.
“Elijah has a great future and I know he now understands the importance of diplomacy. It is the best method of resolving issues. I truly love him and his family as if they were own. He will make it. Many people are praying for him.
“I thank baseball operations, media, TV and radio crews for educating me on the game of baseball.”
Williams was hired by then-manager Jim Bowden before the 2007 season. Current general manager Mike Rizzo and team president Stan Kasten were not available for comment.