Notes on Henry Urrutia and Buck Showalter’s comments on MLB Network

Orioles outfielder Henry Urrutia says he will begin playing again on Tuesday in the Venezuelan Winter League now that he’s recovered from a virus that produced severe flu-like symptoms.

Urrutia’s last game for Leones del Caracas was on Wednesday, before he came down with a fever and felt pain throughout his body.

Urrutia’s 19-month-old son developed the same symptoms and was taken to the emergency room at a local hospital the following day. They’re both doing fine now.

You may recall that Urrutia gave little Henry the ball from his first major league home run, a walk-off against the Mets on Aug. 19. A fan returned it to him.

Henry Urrutia glasses.jpgUrrutia is batting .270/.318/.410 with five doubles, three home runs and 15 RBIs in 26 games with Leones. He went 4-for-6 with two doubles, two RBIs and three runs scored on Nov. 7 and 2-for-4 with two runs scored the next day, but he’s collected only three hits in his last 25 at-bats. His contract with Leones ends Nov. 30.

Urrutia remains on the Orioles’ 40-man roster, but will he get a legitimate chance to claim an outfield spot next spring? Stay tuned.

* Orioles manager Buck Showalter was a call-in guest earlier today on MLB Network’s “Hot Stove” show. He again expressed his joy at having Matt Wieters for at least one more season after the veteran catcher accepted the $15.8 million qualifying offer.

“Matt stepped out there. That’s a great start to what we hope is a good offseason,” Showalter said.

“You always kick things around and we hoped he did take it. I’ve got a switch-hitting catcher who’s going to hit 20 home runs and catch 120 games. I’m really excited that Matt wanted to come back. We get to see Matt, his young son again and his wife. They’ve been bred in our community and our club and it’s exciting for me.

“There was some discussion and at the end of the day it wasn’t a decision that we spent that much time debating, because we felt like it was going to be something that was best for our club. It was a no-lose situation for us.”

The Orioles are continuing their efforts to re-sign first baseman Chris Davis despite the enormous cost. I’ve heard that managing partner Peter G. Angelos has been involved for a while now - this isn’t a recent development - but it’s still not known whether the club will outbid the other suitors or whether Davis would take less to return.

“We’re going to be competitive with it and at the end of the day he and his people will have a decision to make,” Showalter said. “I try to leave those guys alone. Believe me, their agents want us to leave them alone. Or that agent, anyway. But Chris is a grown man. We talked many times. We have plenty of chances to talk and he knows how much we like him and would like to have him stay here. We’re going to make an attempt to stay competitive with it.

“I know our ownership is very supportive with all of our free agents. But at the end of the day, we have to think about what-if. We have to at every position. What happens if Manny (Machado) gets hurt next year or J.J. Hardy is hurt next year? We’ve got to think about those things, because nobody is going to feel sorry for us. We better have a what-if plan in place. But it’s a lot easier and the manager gets a lot smarter when you have Chris Davis and Matt Wieters and Darren O’Day.”

O’Day probably leads the league in suitors, and the Nationals have emerged as a favorite to sign him for the obvious reasons. They need to bolster their bullpen and O’Day’s wife, Elizabeth Prann, is a Washington-based reporter for Fox News. But the Orioles recognize his value in their bullpen and remain in the mix.

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