On his first off day as an Orioles minor leaguer, Double-A Bowie outfielder Henry Urrutia took a trip to Baltimore, where he got a tour of Camden Yards — the place he hopes his uphill and divot-filled baseball journey reaches its pinnacle.
Thursday, Urrutia checked out the Orioles clubhouse, strolled up the steps of the home dugout and walked onto the field, where he took a 360-degree look around him and soaked in what seemed impossible growing up in Cuba. It was a memorable trip for the 26-year-old Urrutia — because it was the truest sign yet that his dream of playing in the big leagues was in reach.
But his trip to Baltimore also had another purpose.
"Honestly he needed a pair of pants," said Eric Cormell, a minor league coach whom the Orioles have assigned to help Urrutia with his transition to playing baseball in the United States. "That was the real reason, because we didn't have pants long enough for him here since he's such a tall guy."
Getting a suitable pair of white pants for the 6-foot-5 Urrutia — who played his first minor league home game for the Baysox the next night — seemed to be less seamless than his transition to the game after being out of action for more than two years.
Through the first eight games of his professional career, Urrutia (pronounced ooh-ROOT-e-ah) is already showing glimpses of the promise that led the Orioles to give him to a $778,500 signing bonus in July. He reached safely in seven of his first eight games entering Monday, had multiple hits in three, and he already had two homers — including one on the first pitch he saw in his first home at-bat Friday against Harrisburg.
"There's not anything about his game that shows any rust on it," Bowie manager Gary Kendall said. "He's aggressive with his bat. He throws the baseball. He ranges OK in the outfield. He moves along on the bases. So what he's showing us is a guy who's fitting in here, and he's productive here. Our job is to keep him productive and keep him sharp and keep him on the field and in shape and doing the right things."