Rays get Gibson from Nationals

Tampa Bay ships Dukes to Washington for lefty pitching prospect

Glenn Gibson went 4-3 with a 3.10 ERA over 12 starts in the New York-Penn League. (Danny Wild/MLB.com)

By Bill Chastain / MLB.com | December 3, 2007 11:20 AM ET

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Troubled Rays outfielder Elijah Dukes has been traded to the Nationals for Minor League left-hander Glenn Gibson.

In addition, the Rays lost utility infielder Josh Wilson on waivers to the Pirates.

"We have been committed to providing Elijah the support needed to get his personal and professional life back on track," said senior vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman. "He has made progress, and a logical next step is a change of cities and a fresh start for him and his family."

Gibson, 20, was the fourth-round pick of the Nationals in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft out of Center Moriches (N.Y.) High School on Long Island. Last season, he pitched for Class A Vermont of the New-York Penn League and went 4-3 with a 3.10 ERA in 12 starts. He was recognized by Baseball America this winter as having the best changeup and best control in the Nationals' system. Previously, the publication listed him with the best curveball in their system. He is the son of former Major League pitcher Paul Gibson, who pitched for the Tigers, Mets and Yankees from 1988-96.

Dukes, 23, has not played for his Licey team in the Dominican Republic since Thursday night, when he was ejected from the game.

Without Dukes, candidates for the Rays' right-field position are down to Rocco Baldelli and Jonny Gomes.

After a series of domestic problems, coupled with a history of anger-related issues, Dukes was optioned to the Minor Leagues in June and placed on the temporary inactive list.

Dukes began the season in center field for the Rays. But his season began to go downhill after a May 23 St. Petersburg Times report alleged he threatened to kill his estranged wife and their kids.

Later in the summer, Dukes called a Tampa radio station to defend himself and his family while making accusations against his wife. After that episode, Rays officials took a stance that made it clear they felt Dukes had become a distraction and placed him on the temporary inactive list. He did not play for the Rays again during the 2007 season.

Dukes hit .190 with 10 home runs and 21 RBIs in 52 games. Wilson hit .251 with two home runs and 24 RBIs in 90 games -- mostly at shortstop -- with the Rays after coming to the team via waivers from the Nationals on May 10.

The Rays acquired shortstop Jason Bartlett, along with right-hander Matt Garza and Minor League reliever Eduardo Morlan, last week when they sent right fielder Delmon Young, infielder Brendan Harris and Minor League outfielder Jason Pridie to the Twins. The departures of Wilson and Harris make Ben Zobrist the team's backup at shortstop or perhaps the team's starter at second base depending on whether third baseman Akinori Iwamura moves to second base to accommodate top prospect Evan Longoria taking over at third.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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