SARASOTA, Fla. - The search for Cuban outfielder Henry Urrutia has come to an end.
Urrutia obtained his work visa and made it out of Haiti. I’m told that he’s in Miami and will take his physical before reporting to the Orioles’ minor league complex at Twin Lakes Park in Sarasota.
Executive vice president Dan Duquette confirmed tonight that Urrutia had arrived in Florida.
“He needs to get in shape and we need to see how far along he is,” Duquette said. “He needs to get the rust off. I’m not sure how much he was able to train in Haiti.
Urrutia, who received a $778,500 bonus from the Orioles over the summer, batted .397/.461/.597 with 12 homers, 32 walks and 23 strikeouts in 305 at-bats in his final season in Cuba. He played for Las Tunas in the Cuban League from 2006 to 2010 and batted .350 with 72 doubles, nine triples, 33 home runs, 219 RBIs and 209 runs. He also represented Cuba in the 2010 World Championships.
The 6-foot-5, 195-pound switch-hitter didn’t play in 2011 due to a suspension after an unsuccessful attempt at defection.
The Orioles wanted to assign Urrutia to Double-A Bowie over the summer, but he was stuck in Haiti while attempting to obtain his visa.
The club will decide on an affiliate for Urrutia after he works out in Sarasota.
“Let’s see where he is,” Duquette said.
At least the Orioles know that he’s in Miami and able to officially join the organization.
Here’s a scouting report on Urrutia from July.
In other news, Tsuyoshi Wada will throw his third bullpen session from a regular mound on Saturday, according to manager Buck Showalter. Wada threw 25 pitches today and said he continues to feel stronger.