Dubois' bat is as healthy as his hamstring

After delayed debut with Norfolk, right-handed hitter is back in his spring groove

Orioles minor league notebook

Baseball

May 28, 2007|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,Sun reporter

Jason Dubois made it through the Florida portion of spring training with his health intact, which would have been perfect if there hadn't also been a Norfolk, Va., portion.

Dubois pulled his hamstring while running out a ground ball during an exhibition game against the Washington Nationals that was played at the home of the Orioles' new Triple-A affiliate. He went on the disabled list, which delayed his debut with the Tides.

Back in the lineup and making up for lost time, Dubois is starting to heat up. He also is giving the Orioles another name to consider if they want to add a right-handed hitter to a lineup that often lacks punch.

The Virginia Beach native batted .409 with two home runs and six RBIs during a recent six-game stretch. That was before Saturday's 7-4 loss to Richmond, when he got three hits, including an additional homer, drove in two runs and scored twice.

"He's starting to come around," said David Stockstill, director of minor league operations. "He got injured and it took three to four weeks for him to start playing again, and it's taken awhile after that to get his timing back. It's unfortunate because he had an outstanding big league spring training, and now he's starting to do the things we expected of him."

Dubois, 28, hasn't played in the majors since appearing in 14 games with the Cleveland Indians in 2005 after being acquired from the Chicago Cubs. He spent last season with Triple-A Buffalo, batting .275 with 22 homers and 87 RBIs. His home run total tied for sixth in the International League. The RBIs ranked fourth.

Unfortunately for Dubois, his 131 strikeouts placed him fifth in the league.

When the Orioles needed a hitter from Norfolk last month, they called on another right-handed hitter, Jon Knott, who homered in his first game but quickly was optioned back to the Tides. Perhaps a healthy Dubois would have gone in his place.

"We signed him because he has good power, he's a solid hitter, he uses the whole field, gap-to-gap power," Stockstill said. "He can play left field and he can play first base. He's one of the guys we signed in case that need comes up."

Triple-A Norfolk

Garrett Olson won his third consecutive start Friday night, allowing two runs in five innings. He wasn't particularly sharp, allowing five hits and walking five. ... Outfielder Tike Redman was named the International League's Batter of the Week for May 14-20 after hitting .481 with three triples. Not bad for a guy who signed with the Orioles on May 15. ... While Knott and J.R. House are solid choices if the Orioles want to add a right-handed hitter, corner infielder Mike Cervenak entered the weekend ranked fifth in the league with 52 hits. He also was batting .327 with a .673 slugging percentage against left-handers. ... Tides closer Corey Doyne had an 0.82 ERA and eight saves in 10 games in May after registering a 5.23 ERA and five saves in 10 April games. ... Left-hander Kurt Birkins, who has had two stints with the Orioles this season, has pitched 13 scoreless innings and struck out 10 over his past two starts to lower his ERA from 4.15 to 2.08.

Double-A Bowie

Beau Hale, taken in the first round of the 2000 draft out of the University of Texas, is 3-1 with a 3.08 ERA in five home starts and 2-2 with a 6.17 ERA in five road starts. ... Third baseman Oscar Salazar went into yesterday's game leading the Eastern League with 57 hits and ranked second with 31 RBIs. ... Remember outfielder Jeff Fiorentino? He hit .412 over a five-game stretch last week and hit a three-run homer Friday night. ... Jim Hoey update: Going into yesterday's game, he led the league with 13 saves and still hadn't allowed a run in 17 2/3 innings over 18 appearances. He allowed 11 hits and struck out 25, and opponents were batting .183 against him.

Single-A Frederick

Orioles reliever Sendy Rleal, on the disabled list with a sore right elbow, pitched in his first injury rehabilitation game for the Keys on Friday and gave up three hits, including a home run, in one inning. ... Left-hander Richard Salazar has 34 strikeouts in 31 innings.

Single-A Delmarva

Bill Rowell, the Orioles' top draft pick last year, joined the Shorebirds on Wednesday after recovering from a strained oblique muscle. Rowell hit his first home run Friday night and finished with three RBIs. ... Pedro Beato has made 10 starts for the Shorebirds this season and still doesn't have a decision. ... Brandon Tripp came off the disabled list. He went into Saturday's game leading the South Atlantic League with a .382 average and had a run-scoring single Friday .... First baseman Chris Vinyard was second in the league with 43 RBIs heading into yesterday's game.

roch.kubatko@baltsun.com

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