James attended the University of Missouri. He was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 6th round of the 2001 MLB Draft, but did not sign. He was selected again by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 5th round of the 2003 MLB Draft, and signed.
In 2007, James was traded to the Cincinnati Reds. He played for the Reds organization in 2008, but became a minor league free agent. In 2009, James played for the Kansas City T-Bones of the independent Northern League.
The Athletics purchased James' contract in June 2010. He received his first promotion to the major leagues on September 1, 2010, making his major league debut the following day.
On November 2, 2010, James was claimed off waivers by the Milwaukee Brewers. He was outrighted to Triple-A on June 27, 2011. James currently lives in Columbia, MO where he coaches baseball and is the operating owner of Nutrishop Columbia, a supplement and nutrition store.
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