Wednesday, April 23, 2014 2:53 AM
Photo by Daniel Kucin. Henry Urrutia hit a home run on his first home at bat for the Baysox against the Harrisburg Senators.
Published on: Monday, April 29, 2013
By Daniel Kucin
Henry Urrutia is considered one of the most gifted players to come out of the Cuban league. The 6-foot-5 outfielder made his minor league debut Friday in the Bowie Baysox’s first of a three-game homestand against the Harrisburg Senators at Prince George’s Stadium.
The Sox won 3-1—largely due to the new phenomenon who entered their lineup.
Urrutia, who was signed by the Orioles last July, joined the Baysox on Friday, and it didn’t take him long to settle in. On his first home appearance, Urrutia crushed the first pitch he saw 405 feet dead center on a two-run bomb to give the Sox an early lead in the second inning.
“That ball looked like it had two gears to it,” Baysox Manager Gary Kendall said. “When he first hit it, I didn’t think it had enough. But then the ball had a lot of backspin to it, and it just kept carrying.”
Photo by Daniel Kucin. Henry Urrutia is considered one of the best players to come out of the Cuban league.
Urrutia finished the game with two hits, two runs batted in, and, of course, the shot heard around the metropolitan area.
Many critics were uncertain of how the Urrutia might pan out because of the history of the wide range of Cuban players. It can be hit or miss looking at the scouting reports, but Urrutia has the resume to back up his performance. Orioles Manager Buck Showalter has affectionately nicknamed Urrutia “Hammering Hank” for his ability to make good contact on each pitch as a switch hitter.
Urrutia played in the Cuban league from 2006 to 2010, and he also represented his country in the World Championships in 2010. During that time, the 180-pound slugger batted .350 with 33 home runs, 219 RBIs, and 209 runs. Those are some pretty hefty stats, but his raw talent will have to honed and polished in order for him to make the big jump to the majors. Kendall acknowledged that Urrutia has a lack of experience in this league, but he is confident that Urrutia has the ability to do great things for this organization.
“He hasn’t played, and there isn’t anything about his game that shows any rust on him,” Kendall said. “He is aggressive with his bat and ranges pretty good out there in the outfield. ... So what he has shown us is that he is a guy who is fitting in here, and he’s productive. Hopefully, good things will happen to him if he moves up.”