A couple minor transactions to pass along, concerning key players from the 2009 team:
-The Nationals activated catcher Carlos Maldonado, who had missed a month with a broken right thumb, from the 15-day disabled list and optioned him to Triple-A Syracuse. Maldonado was called up to fill in for Ivan Rodriguez while he was on the disabled list last month.
-Mike MacDougal, who saved 20 games in 21 opportunities last year and re-signed with the team this spring after the Marlins cut him, has opted for free agency. The Nationals put a clause in MacDougal's contract that allowed him to become a free agent if he wasn't in the majors by July 1, and the Nationals had no room for the hard-throwing right-hander in their bullpen. The Nationals non-tendered the closer after last season, ambivalent toward paying him a big raise in arbitration while he recovered from hip surgery.
-The third move - and this one might be of more interest to you - concerns Elijah Dukes, the enigmatic right fielder the Nationals released in spring training. Dukes signed with the Newark Bears of the independent Atlantic League. Dukes had gotten little attention from big league teams after the Nationals released him; an executive told me this spring that Dukes had agreed to a deal with a Mexican League team, but changed his mind and decided not to board the flight. For most teams, that confirmed the character concerns they had held all along about Dukes, and he hasn't been touched since.