B.J. Upton and Delmon Young have further delayed their major-league promotions and Elijah Dukes has yet again tarnished his image.
If you haven't seen Friday's USA Today story, it will leave you shaking your head. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/al/devilrays/2006-07-27-devil-rays-prospects-cover_x.htm
To summarize: The three can't believe the Devil Rays still have them at Class AAA Durham.
There is no way the Devil Rays can promote the three to the big leagues now without appearing to pander to the players. All three had already embarrassed the organization this year.
Upton, after moving to third base a few weeks ago, was perhaps about to head up in a few days, but I can't see how Tampa Bay could do that now. He was charged with a DUI in June. Upton doesn't say anything overly derogatory in the story, but it's guilt by association.
Young has played extremely well since returning from his 50-game suspension for throwing a bat at an umpire. He had also stayed out of any type of trouble (that I know of) and looked to be on the cusp of his big-league debut, despite calling the Rays "cheap" last year for not promoting him in September. Young is critical of the Rays again in the story.
Dukes is still Dukes, the churlish boor who has had repeated confrontations with his own coaches and his teammates throughout his career. Twice just this season, he's been suspended by the Rays for run-ins with coaches and teammates. He cracks that they bathe in "sewer water" in the minors, while major-leaguers "shower in Evian." Still, Dukes has major-league talent.
(Was it mere coincidence that each of this year's Dukes incidents happened one day after Young's and Upton's? Just curious.)
Upton will rebound from this, learn from it and move on. For Young, this is another troubling incident and questions over how he'll be in the future remain. Dukes is still Dukes, who will have problems throughout his career.
When the three get around major-leaguers again, they will get a chilly reception. Upton may get it in September, the other two in spring training.
There have been so many troubling incidents in Durham this year, including manager John Tamargo drawing a 10-game suspension for bumping another umpire, that one Biscuit made an amazing statement. He'd rather stay in Class AA for the rest of this year than be subjected to the mess in Durham.