Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Oriole #958- Henry Urrutia

Last week, I began the process of catching up on recent Orioles debuts, but at this point, I'm almost further behind than when I began due to Bud Norris's debut. But I'm going to try to keep up with the ever-changing Orioles! Up today is Cuban rookie, Henry Urrutia.

Henry Urrutia #958, Debuted July 20 against Rangers

Henry's back-story is rather interesting as he was a star baseball player in Cuba, but I think we all know that Cubans are not allowed to leave their country to play baseball in the U.S.. So to pursue his dream of playing in the Major Leagues, he defected to Haiti in summer 2011 and the Orioles signed him to a contract. However, he ran into some issues establishing residency in Haiti and/or obtaining his visa to enter America, and was stuck in Haiti through most or all of 2012. (Disclaimer- I'm not familiar with how residency is established or the US Visa process.)

He finally obtained his visa and was able to join the Orioles at their minor league complex for Spring Training 2013. Unfortunately, he suffered some sort of injury that further delayed his progress, but he was around the team and kind enough to sign some autographs for me, on what were his only baseball cards at the time, my dad's old man cards.

Well, Henry got himself healthy quickly enough, and joined AA Bowie to start the 2013 season. Over 52 games with the Baysox, he hit .365 with 7 homers and 16 doubles before he was promoted to AAA Norfolk with much of the same success, hitting .367 over 15 games. He had shown enough to earn the promotion to Baltimore, and to date has appeared in 14 games and hit .279 over 43 at-bats. He has mainly served as the DH thus far in his Orioles career, and I believe the team would like him to work on his defense and base-running. But his bat seems to be the tool that will likely keep him at the MLB level, though he seems like more of a slap hitter than a power guy for now.

I wish Henry the best of luck with his Orioles career! He certainly surmounted many challenges to reach baseball's top level.

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