In-game notes and more on Urrutia
*Orioles starter Jake Arrieta pitched three innings, allowing an unearned run, in his third spring outing. Arrieta has made two starts and Wednesday’s against Team Spain is an unofficial spring game and doesn’t count in terms of statistics. Still, Arrieta was pleased with how he fared in the 45-pitch outing and how he’s progressed forward this spring.
“Sometimes throughout the week before a start, a light bulb will go off,” said Arrieta, who allowed three hits and a walk and struck out two. “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. 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 [I] just need to keep moving forward.”
*Luis Ayala made his first spring appearance, pitching a scoreless fourth inning, and he allowed two hits. Ayala, who also picked up a strikeout, has been really slow-played this spring since he just pitched in the Mexican Winter League playoffs before coming down to Sarasota.
*Zach Britton followed Ayala and was charged with three runs over two innings, while Russ Canzler has homered twice and has six RBIs. Britton allowed four hits and a walk and had two wild pitches.
*When he finally could see it, smell it, and feel the dirt of the baseball field underneath his cleats, Cuban outfielder Henry Urrutia stopped for a moment and took a deep breath of satisfaction. Seven months since agreeing with the Orioles on a Minor League deal, Urrutia –who had been stuck in Haiti trying to secure a work visa –wanted to remember everything he could about that moment at the Orioles’ Minor League facility in Twin Lakes Park on Monday morning.
“[It was] probably the happiest thing that’s happened to him the last couple of years,” director of the Orioles Dominican Republic Academy Felipe Alou Jr., who served as Urrutia’s interpreter, said at a press conference introducing him Wednesday morning. “He’s really happy and thankful that the Orioles are giving him this opportunity.”
Urrutia’s signing, which includes a $778,500 bonus, gives the Orioles a bona-fide outfield prospect who could reach Baltimore by year’s end. Scouted and recommended by national crosschecker Danny Haas and the legendary Fred Ferreira –who is most recently responsible for Orioles righty Miguel Gonzalez – Urrutia is a 26-year-old left-handed-hitter with a 6-foot-3,190-pound-frame and plenty of potential.
“He has a really good bat from the left side,” executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said of Urrutia — scouted while playing in the Dominican Republic –who made the decision recently to give up switch-hitting. “I think that’s his best asset.”
For more on Urrutia, check Orioles.com for the full story and quotes from him, Duquette and manager Buck Showalter. For those curious as to how to pronounce his last name it is Urrutia (Ooh-root-e-ah).
*The Orioles will conduct an open tryout to find ballgirls and ballboys for the 2013 season at Camden Yards at noon this Saturday, March 9.The judges will include members of the Orioles’ front office, MASN broadcaster Jim Hunter and former Orioles catcher Chris Hoiles.
Outgoing and athletic men and women ages 18 and older who are interested in serving as ballboys and ballgirls for the Orioles during the upcoming 2013 season are invited to try out. Those interested should dress casually, bring their own gloves, and use the Home Plate Plaza entrance to Oriole Park on the southwest corner of the ballpark. Resumes are also recommended. Complimentary parking will be available in Lot A.
In addition to being able to handle a glove and field ground balls, interested candidates should be personable, customer-service oriented and available to work the entire 2013 season.