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Orioles Analysis: Urrutia can be difference-maker for O's

Henry Urrutia was called up to the Orioles Friday in an effort to give a much-needed boost to the team at designated hitter. The 26-year-old outfielder hit .365 in the minors this season.
Henry Urrutia was called up to the Orioles Friday in an effort to give a much-needed boost to the team at designated hitter. The 26-year-old outfielder hit .365 in the minors this season. (Photo Courtesy Bowie Baysox , Carroll County Times)

Last Saturday, Orioles manager Buck Showalter and Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette addressed fans at the State of the Orioles Address.
As soon as the questioning was handed over to the fans, one gentleman asked when Baltimore was going to bring up minor-league slugger Henry Urrutia.
"Buck and I discussed our needs on the major league team and we thought we'd send him to Triple-A and it looks like he's got a lot of natural ability with the bat," Duquette said.
"After the Futures Game, that is something we need to keep an eye on very closely."
It turns out they were watching him closely, as Friday he was called up to the big leagues for the first time in his young career.
And it's fair to say the 26-year-old outfielder deserved it. In his first professional season, Urrutia has excelled at both Class-AA Bowie and Class-AAA Norfolk.
At the two levels combined, he hit .365 and showed great power. Although he's not a great fielder, Urrutia will likely not be asked to do much of that for the Orioles.
Baltimore likes his bat, and sees him as a left-handed option at designated hitter, a spot the Orioles have struggled to fill in their lineup.
Before a game at Bowie last month, Urrutia said he has felt good at the plate this year.
"He's kind of surprised even himself with the way he started off after missing a couple years of playing," an interpreter said for Urrutia, "but the hard work he put up has helped him do what he's doing now."
And that work earned him this promotion to the Orioles.
Showalter has talked about how impressed he is with the 26-year-old numerous times in his pre-game press conferences, not only with his batting, but also his improvement defensively.
"The thing I've been happy to hear about is his defensive play has been good," Showalter said before a game July 11. "He's a long-legged guy. He's one of those types of guys who takes up a lot of the batter's box when he puts his body in it."
Urrutia, who spent most of the first half with the Baysox, recently played in the Futures Game representing the World team.
Last year, Manny Machado excelled at Bowie, played in the Futures Game, and earned a promotion to Baltimore.
The Orioles can only hope that Urrutia's promotion will give a similar addition to the club.
Machado hit .262 with seven homers and provided excellent defense at third base, playing every game after his promotion. While Urrutia does not have the same expectations as Machado, a former top prospect, he can provide a jolt to the lineup.
Baltimore designated hitters this year have hit a combined .197, worst in the American League. The spot has been filled by a plethora of players, including Nolan Reimold, Brian Roberts, Steve Pearce, Danny Valencia, and Chris Dickerson.
If Urrutia can hit the way he did at both Bowie and Norfolk, he can provide an instant impact at a weak spot for the Orioles.
"Players can exceed what you think because of the tools that they bring," Baysox manager Gary Kendall said before a game at Bowie last month. "Manny had those tools, and Henry has a lot of those same tools, so I guess the sky is the limit with a player like that."

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