7/19/2013 9:53 P.M. ET
Cuban prospect Urrutia joins O's as promised
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- When Henry Urrutia was formally introduced as an Oriole in a press conference this spring, executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette made it clear the organization's intention was for the outfielder to be in the Major Leagues in 2013.
Here he is.
Urrutia, who worked out with the team in Texas on Thursday, officially had his contract selected by Baltimore prior to Friday's series opener against the Rangers, and the 26-year-old is expected to get his first start Saturday.
"I'm not going to say he's strictly going to be a DH, but that's probably where he's going to be tomorrow," manager Buck Showalter said of Urrutia, who hit a combined .365 with a .958 OPS between Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk.
"We watched him take batting practice yesterday and watching him move around. I don't know [if he can provide a spark]. I can't sit here and tell you that. We're going to give it a shot instead of sit around and not. You guys know, we've had some issues with our DH spot."
Signed by the Orioles last July, Urrutia thought he could be a September callup, but he didn't arrive until late February due to issues getting a work visa out of Haiti. But given Nolan Reimold's season-ending injury and the rate at which Urrutia has hit both left-handed and right-handed pitching, the O's pulled the trigger after just 67 Minor League games.
"That's the one thing that makes me strong and all the players that were with me," Urrutia said of his time stuck in Haiti, through Minor League coach Ramon Sambo. "I really think about what I went through and all the things, and that I have had to work really hard to keep it. To be here, it is my dream come true, and I know I have to continue to work hard to stay here."
Urrutia, who spent only 15 games at Triple-A, was billed as a line-drive, gap-to-gap hitter. He hit 20 doubles and seven homers for a .531 slugging percentage at both levels this year. While he will most likely be used as a left-handed DH, with some of the organization's initial concerns over his defense and baserunning, he could occasionally be a corner-outfield option.
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.
Reimold set for second straight season-ending surgery
ARLINGTON -- Orioles left fielder Nolan Reimold will have season-ending surgery for the second consecutive year, as the 29-year-old is slated to undergo corrective surgery Tuesday at the Florida Spine Institute to fix a spinal fusion procedure performed last June.
Reimold, who was officially placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday with nerve inflammation in the cervical spine, will be transferred to the 60-day DL the next time the team needs a 40-man-roster spot. The news is the latest in a rough two-year stretch for Reimold, who has played in just 56 games since the start of the 2012, despite rehabbing aggressively to be a full-go from Day 1 of this year's Spring Training.
"It's like I told him, 'I don't think you'll realize how much of a challenge it was for you physically until you get it right.' And then you go, 'My gosh, I was trying to work though that?'" manager Buck Showalter. "It's one thing when doctors free them up to resume activity. Maybe they are telling them for a guy working 9-5 behind a desk as opposed to a guy playing Major League Baseball against the best players in the world. Those are two different things."
Reimold had his first neck surgery -- the same procedure quarterback Peyton Manning underwent -- at Johns Hopkins Hospital by neurosurgeon Dr. Ziya Gokaslan.
"I think Nolan feels better that it wasn't something he was trying to do wrong. Did he overdo it? I bet he did, because that's Nolan -- the same reason why you like him," Showalter said. "I got a good feeling this will have a happy ending in a lot of ways. He seemed, the last time I talked to him, real 'Let's go.' Now you can see it in black and white on a CAT scan, an MRI: 'Here's what it is and we are going to get it right.' I think he has a lot of confidence in the people doing it. Nolan has done his homework."
Reimold, who saw neurosurgeon Dr. Robert Kowalski at the Spine Institute over the All-Star break, hasn't played more than 87 games in a season since his rookie year in 2009. After making the Opening Day roster, Reimold was placed on the disabled list May 18 -- retroactive to May 12-- with a right hamstring strain that nagged him throughout camp. Though he was activated earlier this month, he never looked quite right.
"I could tell the last couple games something just wasn't firing," Showalter said of Reimold, who hit for a .195/.250/.336 slash line in 40 games this season.
"It's kind of sad in a way, but you want to get it right. First of all, you just want to get his daily day-to-day activities and just living his life right. And the baseball part of it, I'm told, should come."
Reimold's roster spot was filled by Danny Valencia, who was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk and joined the team for Thursday's workout in Texas. Valencia hit .230/.277/.508 in 21 games with the Orioles and posted a .314/.350/.607 slash line in 48 games with Norfolk. This will be his second stint with Baltimore, which optioned him on July 3 to clear a roster spot for pitcher Scott Feldman.
"I don't know what's going to happen," Valencia said of his role on the team. "Obviously whatever role they want for me to do, I'm going to try to do my best. If it's more at-bats, great. If not, I'm just going to have to embrace what I have to do."
O's designate Dickerson, trying to work out trade
ARLINGTON -- The Orioles designated Chris Dickerson for assignment prior to Friday's game against Texas, clearing a 40-man-roster spot for the promoted Henry Urrutia, and they are trying to work out a trade involving the 31-year-old outfielder.
"That will play itself out in the next couple days," manager Buck Showalter said of Dickerson's future. "I don't think that story has been completely written yet. There's been some things we've talked about, and I think Chris is going to get a chance to play more, something that I know he wanted to. He's been a contributor for us in a lot of ways, a very good defender, and somebody is going to end up with a very good player."
By placing Dickerson on waivers, Baltimore has 10 days to trade, release or hope Dickerson clears waivers, although a deal seems the most likely scenario. A left-handed hitter, Dickerson batted .245/.274/.412 in 46 games for the Orioles and owns a career line of .263/.340/.408 across six Major League seasons.
One of the final roster cuts this spring, Dickerson, who signed a Minor League deal this winter, had his contract selected by Baltimore on April 10.
• Steve Johnson (left oblique strain) will pitch two innings Friday in the Gulf Coast League and, if that goes well, will pitch for short-season Class A Aberdeen next. Johnson will fly to Maryland to attend his grandmother's funeral this weekend.
• Wilson Betemit (right knee) has been doing timed 90-feet runs at the team's spring facility in Sarasota, Fla., and Showalter said the organization is still not ruling out a return this season.
• Hunter Harvey, the Orioles' first-round pick in June's First-Year Player Draft, made his professional debut Friday in the Gulf Coast League. The right-hander threw one inning and allowed one hit, striking out one against the Rays' GCL club.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.