Nearly four months after signing Cuban defector Henry Urrutia, the Orioles are still waiting for the 25-year-old outfielder to officially join the organization, according to an industry source.
Urrutia, who has set up residency in the Dominican Republic, continues to have difficulty obtaining a visa, an obstacle that has existed since the Orioles signed him in July.
The Orioles had hoped Urrutia would arrive in time to get some minor league at bats at the Double-A level. Even after the season ended, the hope was to get Urrutia into to the team's spring training complex in Sarasota, Fla., to begin workouts.
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That hasn't happened.
Now that the season is over, Urrutia’s visa issues aren’t necessarily a top priority, but the Orioles would like him to play winter ball in the Dominican, and Urrutia still needs a visa to do that.
He hasn’t played professionally since 2010, his last season in Cuba, when he hit .397/.461/.597 with 12 homers in 305 at bats. He was prevented from playing in 2011 because of a failed defection attempt.
Urrutia, a switch-hitter who is listed at 6-foot-3, 180 pounds, is projected to be an athletic, line-drive hitter with average power and more upside from the left side of the plate.
The Orioles signed Urrutia to a minor league free-agent deal, giving him a $778,500 signing bonus.