Multiple sources are now reporting that the Baltimore Orioles have promoted OF Henry Urrutia from AAA Norfolk, and he will join the team tomorrow in Texas for their series against the Rangers.
As I talked about in my first half wrap-up and look ahead, Urrutia’s call-up comes just a few days after O’s manager Buck Showalter stated that he believed Urrutia could help the ballclub this season. He will likely take over the DH spot for the Orioles while Nolan Reimold goes back on the disabled list for the second time this season. If he performs well, the job could become his for the foreseeable future, as Reimold himself had been struggling all year when healthy.
The other DH options the Orioles have tried, including Ryan Flaherty, Danny Valencia, Chris Dickerson, and Travis Ishikawa, along with Reimold, have combined for the second-lowest DH production in the American League.
The Cuban defector Urrutia was hitting a combined .365 at both Norfolk and AA Bowie, with 7 home runs and 43 RBI, and also had a .958 OPS. He also hit .397 with RISP and was 4-for-10 with the bases loaded. This is his first year playing in the United States since defecting. He was named the Orioles Minor League Player of the Month in June.
Some talent evaluators like ESPN’s Keith Law believe Urrutia profiles as a “DH-only” type of player, though he has yet to make an error in the field during his time in the Orioles system. He is 26 years old and stands at a staggering 6-foot-5, 200 pounds. He apparently has very quick hands and can hit balls in every zone thanks to his long arms, though he also has great discipline and lays off pitches he deems too high or low. He is a left-handed hitter, though in Cuba he was able to switch-hit. His father, Ermidelio Urrutia, played baseball professionally in Cuba.
The Orioles will face off against the Rangers in a three game set to begin the second half before traveling to Kansas City to take on the Royals. Wei-Yin Chen (4-3, 2.82) will take the mound for Baltimore in game 1 against Derek Holland (8-4, 3.08). The series starts tomorrow at 8:05 ET.