Cuban defector Henry Urrutia isn’t getting called up to the major leagues quite yet -- he is batting third and starting in left field for Triple-A Norfolk this afternoon -- but he’s definitely continuing to build an impressive minor league resume.
The left-handed hitting Urrutia went 5-for-5 on Wednesday night for the Tides, becoming the first Norfolk player to record a five-hit game since Lew Ford on May 29, 2012 at Pawtucket.
He entered Thursday’s game at Gwinnett riding a nine-game hitting streak, hitting .421 (16-for-38) with five RBIs in that span, and he has hit safely in 11 of 13 games since being promoted to Triple-A.
Urrutia’s .365 average this season between Norfolk and Double-A Bowie is second-best among all minor league batters behind Colorado Springs’ Corey Dickerson’s .386 average.
Since Urrutia hadn’t played baseball in two years, the Orioles have been committed to giving him the at-bats to get adjusted to American professional baseball, which is why they didn’t promote him from Double-A Bowie until he reached the 200 at-bat mark. They also want Urrutia to polish his fielding in the outfield and his baserunning.
But now, with left-handed hitting outfielder-designated hitter Chris Dickerson suffering a strained left shoulder before Wednesday’s game, the team could have a need for an extra left-handed bat if Dickerson needs to go on the 15-day disabled list. Dickerson has an MRI scheduled for Friday if he doesn’t feel better today.
On Sunday, Urrutia is scheduled to play in the MLB All-Star Futures Game at New York’s Citi Field and the atmosphere there will be his first true taste of the big leagues.
Can the real thing not be far behind?