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.
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.