Henry Urrutia had a one-word answer when asked what his first few days in the major leagues have been like.
“Emotional,” he said through O’s minor league coach Ramon Sambo, who has been with him to interpret and has been helping him since spring training as the former Cuban outfielder adapts to life on and off the field in the United States.
In the last year, Urrutia has been through a lot to finally get to travel to the U.S., to play in the minors and to finally make his way into the Orioles lineup about a year after the club signed him last July 11.
“It has been real emotional and the best thing that happened to me is being here right now,” he said this afternoon.
Urrutia seemed to have a good relationship with the fans in the minors and he interacts with fans on his Twitter account. What is he expecting tonight as he plays his first home game?
“I know how emotional it can be. I don’t know how it will be when I go out there,” he said. “The fans wanted to push me to get here and do well, to come to the majors. I don’t know how it will be here in Baltimore.”
In six games so far, Urrutia is 7-for-20 (.350) with a triple and two RBIs. He went 3-for-7 as the starting designated hitter the last two games in Kansas City and he’ll bat eighth as the DH tonight against Boston.
“It was kind of what I was expecting (against major league pitching). Facing the pitchers in Norfolk, some veteran guys helped me,” Urrutia said. “Now, I just don’t think about who I am facing, just go up there to do the best I can do.
“I want to keep improving and have areas to improve, but every day I come out here, I will do the best I can. All the stuff we did since spring training will come out now as I try to help the team.”
In addition to adapting to life in the majors, the 26-year-old Urrutia is adapting to serving as a DH, something he did in just 14 of 260 at-bats between Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk.
“Trying to keep myself ready between at-bats, but it’s been OK,” he said.
On Wednesday, the Orioles signed another Cuban outfielder, 24-year-old Dariel Alvarez.
“Very happy,” Urrutia said of Alvarez’s signing. “He’s a good guy, very talented. He got out of Cuba like I did to have my dream come true. Nice to have someone else that I know.”
As for getting to know his new teammates and fit in as an Oriole, Urrutia said that process is going great.
“I feel like I’ve been here for years,” he said.