Hearing from Arrieta and Urrutia

SARASOTA, Fla. - Zach Britton allowed two runs and two hits, with one walk, in the top of the fifth inning.

The good news: He won’t face Team Spain during the regular season.

The Orioles lead 7-3 in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Jake Arrieta said he took a step forward today after allowing one unearned run in three innings.

“Sometimes throughout the week before a start, a light bulb will go off, whether it’s something small mechanically in the bullpen or something you are doing on a certain pitch to kind of help you progress and be more consistent with that pitch. And that’s happened over the past couple bullpens,” he said.

“I’ve had two real good sides leading into this game. So things are really starting to tighten up. I pulled a couple fastballs today, but for me the biggest adjustment is making the adjustment to the next pitch. You know, making the correction. And doing that is something I’m more comfortable with, more confident with and just need to keep moving forward.

OK, here’s the first part of Henry Urrutia’s press conference. Felipe Alou, Jr., director of the Orioles’ Dominican Republic Academy, served as the interpreter. And the Cuban outfielder pronounces his last name “ooh-root-e-ah.”

UrrutiaTall.jpgOn what he’s experienced since being here:
“He says it’s been a pretty nice experience so far. He feels welcome from Day One when he came in here to the office and to minor league camp. It was his dream to be a professional player and to be part of the Baltimore Orioles is the best. He’s very happy to be with the Orioles.”

On his time in Haiti:
“It was frustrating to be there waiting, and what made it worse, there weren’t any fields available or places he could really go out and have a good workout. He tried his best to stay in shape. He knew and they were aware of the process that it was going to take some time. It was the first time that a process like that was done out of Haiti. They tried to stay patient. They tried to do enough to stay in shape and be ready to come to the states.”

On his decision to defect and leave family behind in Cuba:
“He says the most difficult decision, not only for him, but for any other player, is to leave his family behind. Right now, he’s just looking forward to moving on and having a baseball career. He said it again, it’s a real tough decision, and he hopes that he can see them again and they can come visit. He’s also saying to come by yourself to a new country to face the difficulties of the language, and the culture alone, all of it is part of the decision in leaving his family behind. He’s looking forward to it. He’s ready to go.”

More on his family situation:
“He’s married. He’s had a six-year relationship. With his Dad, all is good. He’s not managing anymore (in Cuba). He’s working with younger kids, 15, 14 years old. Everything is going good. He’s hoping to go to Italy at some point this year.”

On the circumstances behind his defection:
“First of all, he says he’s played ball since he was 6 years old. He’s played ball at every level in Cuba, and as you know, Cuba only reaches to a certain level of amateur baseball, and it was a dream for him and for some other players to compete at probably the best baseball in the world, which is here. And then when he made it to the Dominican, he worked out for a whole bunch of teams, and he was really surprised when his agent told him, ‘The Orioles were really on to you, they like you a lot.’ He just worked harder to try to keep impressing and he ended up with us.”

On where he is baseball-wise:
“Physically, he said he’s fine. Once he gets on the field and starts working out, he feels he’s still got some more work to do. Everything’s going well. Everything’s moving forward. He expects that physically there are no setbacks, no pain. He’s ready to go, and should be in pretty good shape the next couple of weeks.”

On not playing competitively since 2010:
“Last time he played was 2010 in Japan. They got back to Cuba, they’re working out with other teams to go to the next championship, but he didn’t make it. That kind of helped make the transition to deciding to come to the Dominican and leave his family behind, but it’s been a year, year-and-a-half since he’s played. He’s been working out. He’s just trying to get ready to compete at the next level.”

On being able to see baseball fields again:
“He said when he put on his uniform and walked on the field, the first thing he did was take a big breath and he felt a lot of satisfaction. He finally was here. He’s ready to go, probably the happiest thing that’s happened to him the last couple of years. He’s really happy and thankful that the Orioles are giving him this opportunity.”

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