At Double-A Bowie, there is help for Henry.
As Cuban outfielder Henry Urrutia learns what baseball is all about in the United States, there are also plenty of things he needs to learn and adapt to in and around the game.
To help Urrutia, Orioles minor league coach Ramon Sambo has been assigned by the organization to be with him every day. Sambo managed the club’s Gulf Coast League team in 2007 and again from 2009-2012.
A native of La Romana, Dominican Republic, Sambo is in his seventh season in the O’s organization after a 10-year minor league playing career. He also spent a lot of time with Urrutia in spring training.
“There are a lot of areas that we need to focus on with Henry and it’s not just the baseball part,” Orioles director of player development Brian Graham said. “It’s off the field. It’s nutrition, weight training, the socialization part of being in the United States. There are many areas where he needs guidance at this point.”
Urrutia seems to have the batting part down right now. He is hitting .352 in 18 games for Double-A Bowie with 10 doubles, two homers, 15 RBIs and a .988 OPS. He is batting .452 with seven doubles over his last eight games for the Baysox, who are off today.
“He seems to be a real good makeup kid,” Graham said of Urrutia. “Teammates like him, he’s very receptive to coaching with a good work ethic and attitude. I don’t anticipate any problems but it is good to have someone that speaks Spanish there to help him.”
Meanwhile LJ Hoes is among several hitters hitting well right now with Triple-A Norfolk. Heading into this afternoon’s game for the Tides, Hoes was batting .379 over his last 18 games.
He got off to a slow start and was batting just .209 in mid April, but he has turned that around. Hoes began today batting .292 with nine doubles, one homer, 18 RBIs and a .777 OPS in 32 games. He also was even in walks and strikeouts with 16 each for an on-base percentage of .386.
“R.J’s (manager Ron Johnson) reports on him have been very good,” Graham said “That he is seeing the ball, using the middle of the field, staying on breaking balls.
“LJ does a good job of seeing the ball and getting a good pitch to hit. Anytime that hitters recognize pitches and get a good pitch to try and hit they give themselves a chance for success. LJ does a good job in that area.”