The Orioles announced a couple of expected moves Saturday afternoon, officially releasing outfielder Travis Snider from his contract while recalling outfielder-designated hitter Henry Urrutia from Triple-A Norfolk and optioning outfielder Junior Lake to the Tides.
Snider, who hit .237 with a .318 on-base percentage and .341 slugging in 211 at-bats, was designated for assignment on Aug. 7. The club had 10 days to trade, place him on waivers or release him. He passed through waivers unclaimed and is now free to sign with anyone as early as Monday.
If another team signs him to a major league deal, they’ll have to pay the 27-year-old a prorated portion of the minimum salary. Otherwise, the Orioles would have to absorb what’s remaining of his $2.1 million salary.
He’s one of four outfielders from the Opening Day roster that are no longer with the team, joining Alejandro De Aza, Delmon Young and David Lough, who was designated for assignment Friday.
In an unrelated move, the Orioles added the left-handed-hitting Urrutia to the roster Saturday and he immediately was inserted into the lineup as the designated hitter. Urrutia, 28, was hitting .292 with a .344 on-base percentage and 10 homers in 107 games with the Tides this year.
“He was probably their best hitter we thought, and their hottest hitter, and the timing was right to take him because we had a need. We’ll see if Henry can help us,” manager Buck Showalter said. “I know he has worked very hard defensively. He’ll play some outfield for us, and that’s something that he knew was a point of emphasis.”
The Cuban defector made his major league debut amid some buzz in July 2013 and hit .276 with one extra-base hit in 24 games for the Orioles. He didn’t play for the Orioles at all in 2014, partially because of sports hernia surgery that cost him much of the season.
He said he believes he is in a different place baseball-wise than his first call-up in 2013.
“It’s different just in that I have a little bit more experience than the first time,” said Urrutia, who no longer needs an interpreter. “The first time I didn’t know anything about [the] big leagues. Now I have experienced a little bit more. Now I think it’s different because I can do different stuff here. Like a big league player.”
Urrutia had just found out he was starting Saturday when he was approached by reporters.
“I saw the name right now because my wife texted me and said, ‘OK, you’re playing today,’” Urrutia said laughing. “I didn’t know it.”
Lake, acquired on July 31 from the Chicago Cubs for reliever Tommy Hunter, was 2-for-14 with the Orioles during his brief call-up.