SARASOTA, Fla. – Henry Urrutia, the Cuban defector who the Orioles have been trying to get into the U.S. since July, has finally made it to America.
Urrutia was signed for a bonus of nearly $800,000 by Fred Ferreira, the Orioles executive director of international recruiting, and he’s been stuck in Haiti since then.
“I hear there’s been a Henry Urrutia sighting in South Florida,” Orioles
executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said on Wednesday night.
“The delay was in getting his proper documentation to enter the country,” Duquette said.
“We need to get him to Sarasota, right? He’s in Florida, and we need to get him to Sarasota in the next day or so, and we’ll see where he is.”
Duquette doesn’t know what kind of shape Urrutia is in. He last played for Cuba in 2010 when he hit .397 with 12 home runs. Urrutia is listed as 6-foot-3, 179 lbs.
“I’m not sure what kind of training he’s been able to do in Haiti,” Duquette said.
“He needs to get a physical and give us an update to where he’s at. I’m sure it’s going to take some time for him to get into shape and get some of the rust off.”
Last year, Ferreira said that he thought Urrutia would play in Double-A initially. Duquette declined to predict where he might start.
“We made some good progress getting him here,” Duquette said. “That was the most important step. He’s a very talented player if you look what he did in Cuba.”
The story of Urrutia’s arrival in the U.S. was first reported by MASNsports.com.