Tag Archive | "henry urrutia"

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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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Cuban outfielder Urrutia joins Orioles to start second half

Posted on 18 July 2013 by Luke Jones

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After three red-hot months in which Cuban outfielder Henry Urrutia feasted on minor-league pitching, it appears the wait to see him in Baltimore is over.

According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Orioles will promote the 26-year-old outfielder after he completed a short stint with Triple-A Norfolk in which he hit .367 in 60 at-bats. This success and his .365 average that included seven home runs and 37 RBIs at Double-A Bowie were more than enough to persuade the Orioles to give him a chance to pump life into a stagnant designated hitter role.

This season, the Orioles have hit only .197 with 14 homers and 40 RBIs while posting an anemic .643 OPS (on-base plug slugging percentage) from the DH spot.

In addition to Urrutia, MASN reports Danny Valencia is also on his way to Texas as the Orioles begin their post-break schedule with a three-game set against the Rangers. The additions of both Urrutia and Valencia would appear to be bad news for Nolan Reimold, who has batted .195 and struck out 41 times in 140 plate appearances this season.

Reimold is out of options, meaning the Orioles’ only choice would be to designated him for assignment unless he is heading back to the disabled list. Since returning from the DL earlier this month, Reimold is just 6-for-27 with a homer, three RBIs, and 11 strikeouts.

Urrutia would likely serve as the left-handed DH with Valencia serving as a right-handed bat off the bench and potential DH against left-handed starters. Given the current construction of the Orioles bench that includes two second basemen behind Brian Roberts, Ryan Flaherty would be a logical option to be optioned to Triple-A Norfolk due to his sporadic playing time since Roberts’ return.

With the non-waiver trade deadline less than two weeks away, the Orioles need to see if Urrutia can provide the necessary production from the DH spot that they haven’t received all year, and the 26-year-old has certainly proven worthy of an opportunity after performing admirably at the two highest levels of minor-league ball.

Jurrjens chooses free agency after clearning waivers

As was anticipated last week, the Jair Jurrjens era has officially come to an end in Baltimore.

Despite clearing waivers and being outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk, the 27-year-old pitcher has instead elected to become a free agent. The right-hander was designated for assignment to make room for right-handed reliever Jairo Asencio on the 40-man roster after the former Norfolk closer was promoted to the active roster.

In two appearances with Baltimore this year, Jurrjens made one start and one relief appearance, posting a 4.91 ERA in 7 1/3 innings of work. He had an up-and-down season with Norfolk, going 6-6 with a 4.18 ERA in 16 starts.

“At his young age, I still wouldn’t close the door,” said Showalter, who initially expressed hope that Jurrjens would remain with Norfolk despite a crowded starting rotation that now includes Zach Britton and Kevin Gausman. “I think Jair still has a chance to pitch competitively up here. He’s shown periods down there. It’s just been inconsistent.”

With his fastball only in the mid-to-high 80s, Jurrjens’ velocity never improved to the level at which he had so much success in Atlanta. His 2011 All-Star selection must feel like a distant memory for a pitcher who passed through waivers after he was designated for assignment by the club on July 12. Of course, injuries and declining velocity can spell disaster for any pitcher in a very short period of time.

Ironically, it was just two winters ago that the Orioles engaged in trade talks with the Atlanta Braves that involved current center fielder Adam Jones, with Jurrjens often being mentioned as a prominent name in a potential deal. Now, Jones is in the midst of his third All-Star season and Jurrjens is looking for work after going unclaimed by the other 29 major league teams.

The Orioles and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette couldn’t have dodged a bigger bullet.

Schoop thriving in rehab stint

Infield prospect Jonathan Schoop is nearing his return to Triple-A Norfolk after hitting his second home run in six games for the Gulf Coast League Orioles. The 21-year-old Schoop is 7-for-18 with two homers, two doubles, seven RBIs, and four walks on his rehab assignment.

Schoop hasn’t played a game for the Tides since being diagnosed with a stress fracture in his lower back in late May. Norfolk began its second-half action Thursday night in Charlotte.

While Schoop’s chances for a promotion to Baltimore during the 2013 season were diminished greatly due to the injury, it will be interesting to see whether a strong rest of the season would put him in line for an opportunity to win the starting second baseman job to begin the 2014 season.

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Red-hot Urrutia continues to impress at Triple-A Norfolk

Posted on 11 July 2013 by Luke Jones

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BALTIMORE — With Dylan Bundy recently undergoing Tommy John surgery and Kevin Gausman just optioned to Triple-A Norfolk, there isn’t a player in the Orioles system garnering more attention than Cuban outfielder Henry Urrutia at the moment.

So it came as no surprise when Orioles outfielder Chris Dickerson was scratched from Wednesday’s lineup with a strained left shoulder that many began wondering if the 26-year-old Urrutia could be on his way to Baltimore. The veteran Dickerson was feeling better on Thursday, decreasing the likelihood of a trip to the 15-day disabled list, but it’s appearing more like a question of when and not if Urrutia will make his major league debut this season.

Even manager Buck Showalter jokingly asked prior to Thursday’s game what was wrong with the left-handed hitter after collecting only one hit in the Tides’ loss to Gwinnett earlier in the day. Urrutia was 5-for-5 on Wednesday and is now hitting .357 in 56 at-bats for Norfolk after hitting .365 with seven home runs and 37 RBIs in 200 at-bats for Double-A Bowie prior to his late-June promotion.

With the Orioles unable to find any consistent production at the designated hitter spot through the first half of the season, Urrutia would appear to be moving closer to consideration for an opportunity in Baltimore. At 6-foot-5 and 200 pounds, he remains awkward in the outfield despite his improvement, but his bat is what has many salivating over.

Urrutia will play for the World Team in Sunday’s Futures Game at Citi Field as part of next week’s All-Star Game festivities in New York.

“I think he’s getting closer to being an option. He’s certainly done his part,” Showalter said. “The thing that I’ve been happy to hear about is his defensive play has been good. He’s one of those type of guys that takes up a lot of the batter’s box when he puts his body in it. [Norfolk manager Ron Johnson] said he’s kind of one of those guys you expect to get a hit.”

Urrutia defected from Cuba to Haiti in 2011 before being signed by the Orioles last year to a contract that included a $778,500 bonus. He finally obtained a work visa late in spring training before eventually reporting to Bowie in April and he’s been hitting ever since.

His performance has been even more impressive when you consider the long layoff he experienced from competitive baseball due to his struggles in escaping his home country. Urrutia’s initial attempt to defect from Cuba was unsuccessful, which drew him a suspension for their 2011 season before he was finally able to exit the country later that year.

Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette and Showalter weren’t exactly sure what kind of condition Urrutia would be in when he reported to Sarasota earlier this year, but they knew they had a major-league caliber talent on their hands upon finally seeing him.

“He’s had a lot thrown at him this year that’s new in his life,” Showalter said. “Starting from getting out of Haiti to getting here and getting acclimated to America and a lot of different things we take for granted. It’s been a long, patient road for him.”

Though not projected to have the same home-run power of other recent Cuban defectors such as Yoenis Cespedes or Yasiel Puig, Urrutia displayed good gap power with the Baysox, collecting 16 doubles to go along with his seven homers. In his brief time with Norfolk, Urrutia has four doubles and a triple but has yet to connect for his first Triple-A home run.

If he can even come close to replicating his production between the two levels at the big-league level, the Orioles may have a solution to their season-long problem at the DH spot sooner rather than later.

“He hits a lot of sharp, topspin groundballs kind of skidding the other way too,” Showalter said. “He’s swinging [the bat] well. I’m proud of him.”

NOTES: Dickerson was examined by team orthopedist Dr. John Wilckens prior to Thursday’s game and received an injection in his left shoulder, but Showalter anticipated the reserve outfielder being available to contribute over the weekend. … Right-handed pitcher Steve Johnson threw live batting practice in Sarasota on Thursday and could next pitch in a sim game in his recovery from a strained left oblique that’s kept him on the DL since June 6. … Infield prospect Jonathan Schoop played in his first minor-league rehab game with the Gulf Coast League Orioles on Thursday, going 0-for-2 with a walk before being lifted in the seventh inning. He is expected to play rehab games there for the next week or so before rejoining Norfolk’s roster. … Zach Britton will start on Sunday for the Tides with Kevin Gausman scheduled to pitch in relief after him. The two were optioned to Norfolk following Tuesday’s loss to the Rangers. … Asked how rare it was to have three All-Star starters (Adam Jones, Chris Davis, and J.J. Hardy) who were acquired via trades, Showalter offered the line of the day in acknowledging the club’s fourth All-Star representative Manny Machado: “Manny was kind of a trade too. We traded our season the year before to be able to draft him.” Of course, the 2009 Orioles went 64-98, putting the organization in position to draft Machado with the third overall pick of the 2010 draft.

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Orioles prospects Urrutia, Rodriguez selected to play in Futures Game

Posted on 26 June 2013 by Luke Jones

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The Orioles figure to send several players to next month’s All-Star Game in New York, but their minor-league system will also be represented as Double-A outfielder Henry Urrutia and Single-A pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez have been selected to play in the Futures Game.

Both players will play for the World Team in the minor-league contest taking place July 14 at Citi Field.

Urrutia, a Cuban outfielder in the midst of his first year in the Orioles system, was also chosen to represent the Baysox in the Eastern League All-Star Game. He is hitting .365 with seven home runs and 37 RBIs and is rumored to be heading to Triple-A Norfolk in the near future.

At 26, the defector could arrive in Baltimore sooner rather than later as he’s impressed with his hitting prowess and has improved defensively in his time with Bowie.

Rodriguez, a 20-year-old from Venezuela, is 6-4 with a 2.85 earned run average in 14 starts for Frederick this season. He is regarded by many as the best pitching prospect in the system behind Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy.

The southpaw threw a scoreless inning in last week’s Carolina-California League All-Star Game.

Last year, Bundy and Manny Machado were selected to play in the Futures Game before both made their major league debuts later in the 2012 season. Other Orioles to appear in the minor-league contest in past years included Zach Britton, Jim Johnson, Brian Matusz, and Chris Tillman.

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Cuban outfielder Urrutia moving closer to officially joining Orioles

Posted on 28 February 2013 by WNST Staff

The Orioles made news back in July by agreeing to a minor-league deal with Cuban outfielder Henry Urrutia that included a $778,500 signing bonus and it appears the 26-year-old will officially join the organization later this week.

Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette confirmed to reporters that Urrutia has arrived in Florida after obtaining his work visa in Haiti and is expected to report to the Orioles’ minor-league complex at Twin Lakes Park in the next few days. Urrutia will need to pass his physical, which will be more than a foregone conclusion since the club doesn’t know what kind of shape he’s in after he was unable to obtain a work visa to come to the United States last summer.

Their original agreement was pending a physical, so the Orioles would not be on the hook for any payment if he proves to be unfit.

Urrutia is a switch hitter with a line-drive stroke that’s more polished from the left side, according to several scouting reports. In his final season in Cuba in 2010, he batted .397 with a .461 on-base percentage and .597 slugging percentage in 305 at-bats with 12 home runs. The outfielder also had more walks (32) than strikeouts (23) and was tied for ninth in the league in on-base percentage.

Urrutia did not play in 2011 due to a suspension after he attempted to defect from Cuba. The Orioles planned to assign him to Double-A Bowie last summer after agreeing to terms, but his inability to leave Haiti prevented that from happening.

He lacks the upside of recent Cuban defectors Yoenis Cespedes and Jorge Soler but is considered to have reasonable major-league potential.

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Orioles ink Cuban outfielder Henry Urrutia to minor-league contract

Posted on 11 July 2012 by Luke Jones

The Orioles have signed Cuban outfielder Henry Urrutia to a minor-league deal, according to a Baseball America report.

The 25-year-old reportedly received a bonus of $778,500 for signing with Baltimore. The 6-foot-3, 180-pound corner outfielder played in Cuba’s top league at least three seasons before defecting to the United States.

Urrutia is a switch hitter with a line-drive stroke that’s more polished from the left side, according to several scouting reports.

In his final season in Cuba, he batted .397 with a .461 on-base percentage and .597 slugging percentage in 305 at-bats with 12 home runs. The outfielder also had more walks (32) than strikeouts (23) and tied for ninth in the league in on-base percentage.

Urrutia lacks the upside of recent Cuban defectors Yoenis Cespedes and Jorge Soler, but he is considered to have reasonable major-league potential. Given his age, he will likely report to one of the Orioles’ higher-level affiliates in the near future.

 

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