Looking to improve their odds of making the playoffs, the Orioles are calling up Cuban outfielder Henry Urrutia, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com has confirmed. Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports first reported the news. Urrutia is expected to join the team in Texas in time for Friday night's series opener against the Rangers.
Urrutia, 26, signed with Baltimore for $778,500 last July, though visa issues prevented him from making his pro debut until this season. In 67 games at the Double-A and Triple-A levels, he has hit .364/.427/.531 with seven home runs this season. He has abandoned switch-hitting and is now a lefty-swinger exclusively.
In their preseason 2013 Prospect Handbook, Baseball America ranked Urrutia as the team's 13th best prospect, saying he "should hit for a solid average and solid power" and is an "average runner with a strong arm." He went 0 for 3 with a walk in the Futures Game on Monday but drew rave reviews for his swing during batting practice.
Baltimore already has a productive outfield anchored by Nick Markakis, Adam Jones and Nate McLouth, but they have gotten only a .197/.261/.382 (72 OPS+) out of the DH spot this year. Urrutia could fill that role outright, or join the other three to form an outfield rotation. The bottom line is that if he hits, manager Buck Showalter will get him in the lineup regularly.
The Orioles are in third place in the AL East with a 53-43 record, 4½ games back of the Red Sox for the division lead and 1½ games back of a wild-card spot. They already rank fourth in baseball by averaging 4.81 runs per game, and they recently acquired Scott Feldman in an effort to improve a pitching staff that allows 4.53 runs per game, seventh-worst in baseball.