O's planning to add Urrutia, Valencia to roster
BALTIMORE -- The Orioles are preparing to add Cuban outfielder Henry Urrutia and infielder Danny Valencia to their roster as they begin the second half with a three-game series vs. the Rangers in Texas, moves that will give manager Buck Showalter options at designated hitter and off the bench.
Both Urrutia and Valencia will likely be added to the 25-man roster before the team's series opening game Friday night, a baseball source confirmed to MLB.com on Thursday. There's also a chance the club waits until Saturday with Urrutia, who was expected to be at the Orioles' workout in Arlington on Thursday.
Urrutia, who hit a combined .365 with a .958 OPS between Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk, will need to be added to the 40-man roster, and one option would be to transfer pitcher Steve Johnson to the 60-day disabled list. As for who goes on the 25-man roster, the club could go a few different ways.
Outfielder Chris Dickerson is a potential option -- although he is out of options and would have to be put on waivers first -- and the club is currently carrying three players who play second base, which could make Alexi Casilla or Ryan Flaherty expendable. Urrutia's addition to the outfield could also signify a potential roster move involving left fielder Nolan Reimold, who missed most of last year after having neck surgery and is coming off a right hamstring injury.
Signed by the Orioles last July, Urrutia didn't officially arrive until late February due to issues getting a work visa out of Haiti, but the plan since his initial news conference has been for the 26-year-old to end the year with Baltimore.
Urrutia played just 67 games in the Minors and will most likely be used as a left-handed DH, with some of the organization's initial concerns over his defense and baserunning, although he could occasionally be an outfield option. Urrutia, who spent only 15 games at Triple-A, was billed as a line-drive, gap-to-gap hitter and he hit 20 doubles and seven homers for a .531 slugging percentage at both levels combined.
Urrutia, who did not play in 2011 due to a suspension from an unsuccessful defection attempt, played for Las Tunas in the Cuban League from 2006-10 and batted .350 with 72 doubles, nine triples, 33 home runs and 219 RBIs. He also played for Cuba in the 2010 World Championship and started in right field for the World Team at Sunday's Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game. He went 0-for-3 with a walk in the World's 4-2 loss to Team USA.
"I'd love to be there this year," said Urrutia earlier this week at the possibility of joining the Orioles. "It will depend on whether they think I'm prepared or not. But I'm going to keep working and working to be the player Orioles fans want to see."
Valencia, meanwhile, has hit .230/.277/.508 in 21 games with the Orioles this season and posted a .314/.350/.607 batting line in 48 games with Norfolk. This will be his second stint with Baltimore, having been optioned the first time July 3 to clear a roster spot for pitcher Scott Feldman.