Tag Archive | "henry urrutia"


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Orioles promote Alvarez, option Urrutia to Triple-A Norfolk

Posted on 28 August 2015 by Luke Jones

In the last days before September call-ups, the Orioles have promoted 26-year-old outfielder Dariel Alvarez from Triple-A Norfolk for a three-game series against the Texas Rangers in Arlington.

To make room for Alvarez on the 25-man roster, the Orioles optioned outfielder Henry Urrutia to the Tides on Friday. With Texas sending three left-handed starters to the hill over the weekend, it made sense to add an extra right-handed bat to the 25-man roster prior to Sept. 1 and to recall Urrutia after rosters expand.

Considered one of the few positional talents in the higher levels of the Baltimore system, Alvarez was hitting .275 with 16 home runs, 72 RBIs, and a .729 on-base plus slugging percentage in 541 plate appearances for the Tides this season. The Cuban outfielder has the strongest throwing arm in the organization and was starting in right field and batting eighth in the series opener against the Rangers.

Alvarez ranked third in the International League in total bases, fourth in hits, and fifth in RBIs. He was also selected to this year’s Triple-A All-Star Game and won the Triple-A home run derby.

Opinions have varied on Alvarez’s ceiling as many members of the organization are high on his potential while some outside analysts view him as no better than a fourth outfielder for the long haul. Plate discipline has been a point of concern with the right-handed hitter as he’s walked just 16 times this season.

The Orioles also reinstated catcher Steve Clevenger from the paternity list to take the place of right-handed reliever Jorge Rondon, who was optioned to Norfolk on Thursday.

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Unlikely hero Urrutia provides feel-good moment for Orioles

Posted on 20 August 2015 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Henry Urrutia may never hit another home run and the Orioles still may not qualify for the playoffs despite his dramatic game-winning blast in a 5-4 win over the New York Mets on Wednesday.

But it was a moment to savor as the 28-year-old Cuban outfielder became the fifth player in franchise history to club a walk-off shot for his first major league homer, joining Chris Hoiles (1990), Dave Criscione (1977), Jim Hardin (1969), and Merv Rettenmund (1968) in Orioles lore. Of that group, Criscione became one of the great one-hit wonders in club history in hitting a game-winning homer against Milwaukee despite receiving only 10 plate appearances in his major league career.

If we’re being honest, Wednesday was more likely to be Urrutia’s 15 minutes of fame rather than the start of a long run as the Orioles’ left fielder, but it was easy to feel good for a man who defected from Cuba in 2011 and eventually signed with the Orioles. After a disappointing run that included 58 major league plate appearances in 2013, Urrutia faded from the Orioles’ radar with an injury-riddled 2014 at Triple-A Norfolk and was having a solid but unspectacular season with the Tides before being recalled last weekend.

With Urrutia frequently being criticized for his inability to consistently pull the ball, there was something fitting about the left-handed hitter sending one into the left-field seats on a 1-2 pitch from Carlos Torres to give the Orioles their third walk-off victory of the homestand. As if the congratulatory pie to the face from Adam Jones wasn’t enough, Urrutia was later greeted in the hallway outside the Orioles clubhouse by a Mets fan who had came away with the home run ball.

Emotional as he described what it meant to receive the ball, Urrutia revealed he plans to share the souvenir with his 16-month old son, also named Henry Alexander.

“Wow, that’s the best gift for me tonight,” said Urrutia as he then paused to compose himself. “Now, I can give that baseball to my son, and my son one day can say, ‘This is the first homer for my dad in the big leagues.'”

For the Orioles, Urrutia’s homer helped them to another win in a long season now having 43 contests remaining. But the accomplishment meant more to a man described as having high character and a good work ethic by countless members of the organization.

The mild-mannered Urrutia even apologized for the quality of his English — which is really quite good — during his post-game interview, admitting he was nervous while reflecting on his big moment.

In a performance-driven business where we frequently lose sight of the human beings behind the numbers, fans could not only enjoy a win for the Orioles, but they could recognize and celebrate the top moment of a young man’s career.

Regardless of whether it ultimately leads to anything else for him or the Orioles.

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Seven Orioles players to watch closely during spring training

Posted on 11 February 2014 by Luke Jones

The start of spring training will inevitably bring a new batch of clichéd stories about players being in the best shape of their lives or feeling poised for career seasons, but the Orioles will need several players to emerge from the shadows to continue the momentum started over the last two seasons.

After a disappointing offseason that has featured no impact signings or significant acquisitions at this late stage, manager Buck Showalter must look from within the current roster for solutions to hopefully bring the Orioles a third consecutive winning season, a modest achievement they haven’t realized in 20 years (1992 through 1994).

The Orioles face uncertainty in the starting rotation and in the back end of the bullpen as well as at second base, designated hitter, and left field, making this spring’s workouts in Sarasota as important as any in recent memory. However, most answers won’t truly come until the regular season when Baltimore is thrown back into the reality of competing in the heavyweight American League East.

Here are seven players (with their 2013 stats noted in parentheses) to watch closely over the next six weeks before the Orioles break camp ahead of Opening Day on March 31:

7. 2B Ryan Flaherty (.221, 10 HR, 27 RBI, .683 OPS)

The opinions on the 27-year-old Flaherty have been polarizing in his brief major league career with plenty of good (16 home runs in 438 plate appearances and strong defense) and bad (a 12-for-90 start to 2013 that landed him at Triple-A Norfolk in May) over the last two years. However, the former Rule 5 pick appears to be the favorite to replace Brian Roberts as the starting second baseman and hit .276 with an impressive .812 OPS in 156 at-bats after being recalled from the Tides in late May. As we saw early last season, Flaherty’s defense alone gives him a long leash in Showalter’s eyes, but the Orioles hope he finally finds consistency at the plate with no established veteran in the mix as a serious threat.

6. OF/DH Henry Urrutia (.276, 0 HR, 2 RBI, .586 OPS)

The Cuban defector was the toast of the Orioles’ farm system last season as he raked at both Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk — hitting .347 with 31 extra-base hits between the two levels — before being called up to the majors in late July. All but one of Urrutia’s 16 hits with the Orioles were singles, but far too many have written off the 27-year-old while overlooking how tumultuous the last couple years were for him in simply trying to get to the United States, let alone immediately thrive in professional baseball. There’s no question that Urrutia needs to hit for more power to stick, but nearly 20 extra pounds and a full offseason to hone his craft make this spring an interesting one for him as the Orioles are still unsettled at the designated hitter spot.

5. LHP Zach Britton (2-3, 4.95 ERA, 1.725 WHIP)

This year is likely to be Britton’s last chance with the Orioles as he’s out of options and coming off his second consecutive underwhelming season in which he pitched poorly in 40 major league innings and posted an unimpressive 4.27 ERA at Norfolk. Britton walked too many hitters and didn’t miss enough bats (striking out just 4.1 per nine innings), but the fifth starter job is open for now and the fact that other contenders such as Kevin Gausman and Steve Johnson have remaining options gives the 26-year-old lefty a slight edge in the race. His 5-1 start as a rookie in 2011 feels like an eternity ago, but Britton has no better chance but this spring to show Showalter and new pitching coach Dave Wallace that he’s finally figured everything out.

4. OF/DH Delmon Young (.260, 11 HR, 38 RBI, .715 OPS combined with Philadelphia and Tampa Bay)

One of the few players the Orioles signed this offseason who has significant major league experience, the 28-year-old Young agreed to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training and figures to have a good chance to make the club as the right-handed designated hitter. He carries off-field baggage to go along with uneven performance over the last three years, but the No. 1 overall pick of the 2003 draft is a career .303 hitter with an .812 OPS against left-handed pitchers in his career. It was only 2010 when Young had a career season by hitting .298 with 21 homers and 112 RBIs, but the Orioles simply hope he can be part of the answer in a possible DH platoon situation.

3. LF David Lough (.286, 5 HR, 33 RBI, .724 OPS with Kansas City)

The Orioles spent much of the winter talking up Lough’s potential and there’s no doubting his above-average defensive ability, but whether he can handle the starting job in left field remains to be seen. A younger and cheaper version of Nate McLouth, Lough slugged a decent .413 but walked only 10 times in 335 plate appearances with the Royals last season, which isn’t something you’d like to see given the Orioles’ poor on-base percentage as a team in 2013. The 28-year-old hit .292 against southpaw pitchers last season, which bodes well for his chances to play every day, but the Orioles really would have benefited from a substantial upgrade at the position instead of a poor man’s version of McLouth, who wasn’t exactly a world-beater in 2013.

2. 3B Manny Machado (.283, 14 HR, 71 RBI, .746 OPS)

It remains to be seen how much the 21-year-old will play this spring — if at all — as he continues his rehabilitation from knee surgery, but his recovery is critical to not just the 2014 season but the future of the franchise. The Orioles need to be careful in easing Machado back to baseball, but it will be interesting to see if the winter disrupts his progress as a player after some of his flaws at the plate were exposed late last season. As good as he is at such a young age, Machado needs to show more patience at the plate (only 38 walks in 912 career plate appearances) and hit only .239 in the final three months of last season, making his late-season knee injury that much more frustrating in robbing him of the ability to simply hone his craft this winter.

1. RHP Kevin Gausman (3-5, 5.66 ERA, 1.343 WHIP)

For all the discussion about the Orioles failing to land an established veteran starter to anchor the rotation, the 2012 first-round pick taking a giant step forward would be a major shot in the arm to the back end of the rotation. Gausman’s blazing fastball and split-change are plus pitches, but the 23-year-old needs a better feel for a third pitch to give himself the best chance to succeed as a starter. Regardless of where he’s playing, Gausman needs to be pitching every fifth day to develop and should not be in the bullpen as he was in the second half last season. Baltimore hopes that some added bulk to his 6-foot-3 frame will put the righty over the top physically and allow him to put things together quickly at the major league level.

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Orioles reinstate Urrutia from restricted list, designate Betemit for assignment

Posted on 16 September 2013 by WNST Staff


The Orioles announced Monday that they have reinstated outfielder Henry Urrutia from the Restricted List. To make room for him on the 40-man roster, infielder Wilson Betemit has been designated for assignment.

Urrutia, 26, batted .276/.276/.310 in 24 games with the Orioles this season.

Betemit, 31, has appeared in six games for the Orioles in 2013, going hitless in 10 at-bats. He was on the disabled list from March 26 to August 27 with a right knee sprain.

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Orioles plan to call up top infield prospect Schoop, three others Tuesday

Posted on 02 September 2013 by WNST Staff

The Orioles will continue a series of September call-ups on Tuesday with the promotions of top infield prospect Jonathan Schoop, outfielder Henry Urrutia, infielder Ryan Flaherty, and right-handed pitcher Josh Stinson.

Flaherty will be recalled from Single-A Frederick while the other three have been playing for Triple-A Norfolk.

With minor-league seasons now concluding, the organization will also send a group of players to Sarasota to be on call in case the Orioles need them later this month. Japanese lefty starter Tsuyoshi Wada and outfielders Chris Dickerson and Jason Pridie are expected to be included in that group.


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Urrutia optioned to Norfolk as Orioles likely to add extra bullpen arm for Saturday’s game

Posted on 16 August 2013 by WNST Staff


The Orioles announced after Friday’s game that they have optioned outfielder Henry Urrutia to Triple-A Norfolk.

Urrutia has batted .269/.269/.308 (14-for-52) in 21 games for the Orioles since making his major league debut on July 20 at Texas.

A corresponding roster move will be announced on Saturday.

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Second half expectations for the Orioles

Posted on 20 July 2013 by jeffreygilley

Lately, the Orioles have been playing good baseball. Chen has returned as the team’s most consistent pitcher and the offense keeps on producing. If the Orioles want to make a serious postseason run, the offense must continue to produce but the bullpen must improve.

The one position of need for the Orioles is the designated hitter. On the season, the designated hitter has not produced for the O’s. Hitters in that position have managed to hit a meager .197 average.

Before the All-Star break, the series against the Blue Jays was a microcosm of the first half for designated hitters wearing an Orioles jersey. Ryan Flaherty, Nolan Reimold, and Chris Dickerson managed only one hit and struck out eight times. These three players also left five men on base. Four of these base runners were stranded in the lone loss to Toronto, which was a winnable game, had the DH performed better.

Now, unless you have been living under a rock in Baltimore, you know what the Orioles have recently done to improve that position. Over the All-Star break, Henry Urrutia was called up from Triple A-Norfolk. The 26-year-old Cuban sensation will be expected to come in and produce right away seeing as he is starting tonight against the Texas Rangers.

At Norfolk and Bowie, Urrutia hit a combined .356 average to go along with seven home runs and 43 RBI.

This is yet another great sign for the start of the second half.

The Orioles All-Stars, especially Manny Machado, had great performances in the All-Star game. Secondly, they won last night! Chen went 6 and one-third innings, allowing eight hits and just one earned run.

Whenever Chen is pitching, he always gives the Orioles a chance to win. He doesn’t get anxious on the mound and he eats up innings. Scott Feldman was brought in as another starter for the same purpose. He has made three starts since he was acquired and has a 5.79 ERA. In his last outing against the Blue Jays, Feldman went seven and one third innings. In those innings, he gave up three earned runs off five hits while striking out seven batters.

If Feldman can continue pitching like he has against the Blue Jays and White Sox, the Orioles chances of making a postseason run increases.

While the Orioles can make the playoffs, I won’t have much faith in their chances of making a run. Their closing situation has surprisingly become an issue and their bullpen has struggled the entire season. Their offense is great but elite pitchers can shut them down and I don’t have faith that the bullpen could keep games close.

On the other hand, the Orioles have shown they can be supremely poised and clutch. There is something about this team that also makes me think they can overcome their pitching deficiencies. The only major obstacle for this team is the closing role. Jim Johnson has a lot of saves this season but has really struggled of late. If Johnson performs, the sky is the limit for the Orioles.

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Reimold facing another neck surgery, Dickerson designated for assignment

Posted on 19 July 2013 by Luke Jones

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It was apparent that Nolan Reimold wasn’t producing enough for the Orioles to keep him on the 25-man roster and it appears we now have a better undertanding why.

Prior to the start of a three-game set in Texas, the Orioles announced they’ve placed the 29-year-old designated hitter and outfielder on the 15-day disabled list with what’s described as “nerve inflammation in the cervical spine.” Of course, Reimold underwent spinal fusion surgery last summer to have a herniated disc removed from his neck, but it’s now looking as though that procedure was unsuccessful.

Minutes prior to the Orioles’ official announcement, Reimold’s wife Jenny wrote on Twitter that her husband will be going under the knife next week, which would presumably put the rest of his season in serious jeopardy. According to MASN, Reimold will seek a second opinion on his neck, but all signs appear to be pointing toward another surgery.

“To clear things up, [Nolan Reimold] is not “injured again,” Jenny Reimold wrote Friday6 afternoon. “Failed spinal fusion. Cleared to play too early. Corrective surgery Tuesday.”

Though he spent a large portion of the first half on the 15-day DL with a right hamstring injury, the Orioles acknowledged that Reimold’s ability would be a mystery entering the season after undergoing such a serious procedure that altered the range of motion in his neck. Manager Buck Showalter continued to give Reimold opportunities, but his contact percentage plummeted to a career-low 65 percent after four previous seasons in which it was never lower than 77 percent. It was clear to see that a player who’s been relatively productive when healthy in his career just wasn’t right at the plate on any regular basis this season.

In 140 plate appearances this season, Reimold is hitting .195 with five home runs, 12 RBIs, and 41 strikeouts. His .586 on-base plus slugging percentage pales in comparison to his career .766 OPS.

“It’s not ever going to be exactly what it was with his range of motion,” said Showalter about Reimold in late April. “He’s had to make a couple adjustments in the way he sets up to get two eyes there because he doesn’t have quite the same mobility with his neck that he had, but it’s getting a little better every day.”

Reimold remains under team control through the 2015 season, but he will turn 30 in October and will be eligible for arbitration, making it possible that the former second-round pick is be non-tendered after the season.

Needing to make roster moves for outfielder Henry Urrutia and infielder Danny Valencia prior to Friday’s game, the Orioles surprisingly designated outfielder Chris Dickerson for assignment. The move removed him from the 40-man roster and created a spot for Urrutia, whose contract was selected from Triple-A Norfolk.

Dickerson had recently been dealing with a left shoulder strain but played strong defense and a left-handed bat off the bench. The 31-year-old also provided one of the most exciting moments of the season with his game-ending three-run homer against the Detroit Tigers on May 31.

However, following that pinnacle moment, Dickerson was just 10-for-54 with no homers, two RBIs, and 23 strikeouts in 57 plate appearances. In 102 official at-bats this season, Dickerson hit .245 with four home runs and 13 RBIs.

Many predicted that backup second baseman Ryan Flaherty would be the one to go instead of Dickerson — Flaherty has options remaining unlike Dickerson — due to his sporadic playing time since the return of Brian Roberts, but Showalter has said the club could elect to use Flaherty at other positions and doesn’t view him exclusively as a second baseman.

Since Roberts was activated from the DL on June 30, Flaherty has received just eight at-bats.

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Orioles DFA Dickerson, place Reimold on DL to make room for Urrutia, Valencia

Posted on 19 July 2013 by WNST Staff


The Orioles announced Friday that they have selected the contract of outfielder Henry Urrutia and recalled infielder Danny Valencia from Triple-A Norfolk. To make room for them on the 25- and 40-man rosters, outfielder Nolan Reimold has been placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to July 14, with nerve inflammation in the cervical spine, and outfielder Chris Dickerson has been designated for assignment.

Urrutia, 26, has batted a combined .365/.427/.531 in 67 games with Double-A Bowie (52 games, .365/.433/.550) and Triple-A Norfolk (15 games, .367/.406/.467) in his first professional season. He appeared in the Futures Game for the World Team on Sunday, going 0-for-3 with a walk. Urrutia (pronounced ooo-root-EE-uh) was signed by the Orioles as a non-drafted free agent on July 11, 2012. He will wear uniform #51 and become the 12th Cuban born player in Orioles franchise history when he makes his debut.

Valencia, 28, has batted .230/.277/.508 in 21 games for the Orioles this season. He has hit .314/.350/.607 in 48 games with the Tides this season.

Reimold, 29, has batted .195/.250/.336 in 40 games with the Orioles this season. He was also on the DL, May 12-July 2, with a right hamstring strain.

Dickerson, 31, batted .245/.274/.412 in 46 games for the Orioles after having his contract selected on April 10.

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Orioles reportedly sign 24-year-old Cuban outfielder Alvarez

Posted on 19 July 2013 by Luke Jones

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With 26-year-old outfielder Henry Urrutia making his major league debut this weekend, the Orioles are wasting no time in restocking their minor-league system with a Cuban outfield prospect.

According to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com, 24-year-old outfielder Dariel Alvarez has agreed in principle to a deal with the Orioles worth $800,000. He met with team officials in Sarasota this week and the deal could be completed as early as this weekend.

The right-handed hitter defected from Cuba last year and went on to play professionally in Mexico. He was deemed a free agent by Major League Baseball earlier this year, but he reportedly considered a return to his native country after his initial contract demands weren’t met by any club.

Though his overall approach isn’t considered as polished as that of Urrutia, many scouts believe the younger Alvarez projects to have more power at the major-league level if he can refine his swing in the minors.

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