Jason Dubois: Ready To Step Up

Jason Dubois signed with the Baltimore Orioles this off-season in the hopes that he could provide right-handed pop for a lefty-heavy lineup. He almost haqd his wish, but an injury derailed his bid for a major league job out of spring training. Inside, Jason discusses this and much more with ITW.

Although just a 14th round selection by the Chicago Cubs in the 2000 Major League Baseball draft, Jason Dubois quickly emerged as a prospect. He spent three full seasons in the minor leagues and made his major league debut at the tail end of 2004. Injuries and ineffectiveness at the highest level caused the Cubs to finally give up on him in 2005, and he was traded to the Cleveland Indians in a rare prospect-for-prospect swap (for Jody Gerut).

His 2006 campaign with the Cleveland Indians organization saw him return to old form, slugging .492 in the pitching-friendly International League. Nevertheless, Dubois was granted free agency after his sixth minor league season and signed with the Baltimore Orioles.

"It felt like it was a good fit and I was looking at [the Orioles'] roster and saw that they had a lot of left-handed hitters and they were always saying they needed a right-handed bat," Dubois said.

Dubois also saw Baltimore as an opportunity to return to his old stomping grounds. He was a standout at Frank W. Cox High School in Virginia Beach, Va.

"Playing here close to home, where a lot of people have seen me play for a long time, helped in the decision."

Dubois' solid 2006, with Triple-A Buffalo, included a .275 batting average with 31 doubles, 22 home runs and 87 RBI. In seven games against the Norfolk Tides, he knocked in 10 runs and belted five homers.

The former Colonial Athletic Association triple-crown winner entered the Orioles spring training camp with an outside shot of making the club's 25-man opening day roster. He quickly turned that "long shot" optimism into a reality with a very impressive spring.

Unfortunately, days before spring training wrapped up, Dubois went down with a pulled hamstring in an exhibition game against the Washington Nationals. He was designated for a rehabilitation assignment and was unable to lock down the roster spot he had worked so hard for.

"Blowing [the hamstring] out here in an exhibition game was a bummer after being so close, but it doesn't matter if I started out here or up [in Baltimore], I was still going to play hard no matter what happened."

The 28 year old finally joined triple-A Norfolk on April 23rd. In only his second game back in action, Dubois quickly hushed any notions that he might be a bit rusty by belting a solo home run.

"It's getting better, I wouldn't say it's a work in progress, but kind of a mental thing that I'm trying to get over."

Since getting back to game action, Dubois has been used as a utility player. He has seen time in left field, right field, at first base and as the designated hitter.

"It doesn't matter to me where I play, as long as I'm in the starting nine."

Although he was off to a hot start, the Orioles have yet to see the electric bat they envisioned they were getting when they signed him. Dubois is hitting .195 with 5 doubles, 1 HR, 3 RBI and he knows it's time to start stepping it up.

"I need to get hot, start collecting some hits, doubles and driving in runs."

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