By Chico Harlan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 12, 2008
PITTSBURGH, June 11 -- One night after a ninth-inning argument between Manager Manny Acta and Elijah Dukes, Acta used a few words and one lineup card to suggest that all differences with his right fielder had been cast aside.
For Wednesday night's game against Pittsburgh at PNC Park, Acta placed Dukes in his usual No. 2 batting spot and suggested that the two are on good terms.
"We talked it out after the game, and we're cool, we're fine," Acta said.
Dukes refused to comment, shaking his head when he spotted several reporters and saying, "No, ya'll know me."
On Tuesday, Dukes was part of both a stirring Washington comeback and tension that threatened to overshadow it. After doubling and scoring on a Lastings Milledge home run, the two celebrated with an emphatic fist bump. In the dugout, though, the manager and Dukes argued face-to-face. Acta lifted his hands, animated, while Dukes yelled back. When the team lined up in the middle of the diamond for postgame handshakes, Acta walked down the line, hand held high, tapping the hands of his players. But Dukes did not shake his manager's hand.
Shortly afterward, Dukes met with Acta and General Manager Jim Bowden. On Wednesday, Acta and Bowden refused to describe specifics of that meeting, or the root of the disagreement.
"It's over with," Acta said. "What happens in Pittsburgh stays in Pittsburgh."
"We talked through the incident behind closed doors," Bowden said. "It was a miscommunication and a misunderstanding. We've resolved it, going forward. I support the manager 100 percent. And it's behind us."
This is the second time in the last week that Dukes has been involved in both a highlight and a controversy. His walk-off home run May 5 against St. Louis was punctuated with a quick motion -- just several steps into his home run trot -- directed toward home plate umpire Doug Eddings. Eddings was upset, and told Acta.
In his last 17 games, Dukes is 16 for 55 (.291) with 11 walks.
Acta said he placed Dukes back in the lineup for the middle game of this series not to prove a point, but because "he's our right fielder."