Henry Urrutia has been steadily checking off his major league firsts during his week with the Orioles — first hit, first RBI, first extra-base hit — and now he’s set to add another to the list: His first home start at Camden Yards on Friday night.
Urrutia is batting eighth as the Orioles’ designated hitter as the team opens a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox.
“For him, it’s a little problem for him maybe because he knows how emotional it can be,” field coach Ramon Sambo said, acting as Urrutia's translator. “He doesn’t know how he’s going to be when they come outside.”
Friday's game will be Urrutia’s seventh since his call-up a week ago. He’s 7-for-20 with one RBI, one run scored and one triple so far for the Orioles. He’s been either the team’s designated hitter or a pinch hitter in each of his games with the team after playing the outfield in the minor leagues.
“It’s a little different because he’s used to being more active, being in the field doing things,” Sambo said. “But he said it’s OK. He’s trying to keep himself in the game between innings and between at-bats. Keep himself stretched and ready to go, so he said he feels OK.”
Urrutia said he hasn’t been surprised by anything he’s seen in the majors after his time in the minors with Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk. Friday night, he’ll face Boston right-hander John Lackey, who is 7-7 with a 2.95 ERA this season.
The adjustment has been smooth for Urrutia. While it would be difficult for him to post the .365 average he carried in the minors, he’s showed flashes that he could provide impact for the Orioles in the team’s designated hitter spot.
And he said he’s been welcomed by his teammates with open arms.
“He said he feels like he’s been here for years,” Sambo said.