The Orioles have three prospects in Sunday’s MLB All-Star Futures Game at Citi Field in New York, and each could have an impact in the major leagues this season and in the future.
Urrutia, Double-A Bowie left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez and High-A Frederick first baseman Christian Walker will participate in the game, which pits the best prospects from the United States against the best young players from the rest of the world.
Urrutia, who will bat fifth and play right field for the World team in Sunday's game, could be the first of the trio to join the Orioles.
The Cuban defector is batting .365 with seven home runs and 43 RBIs in 67 games between Bowie and Norfolk. Urrutia got off to a slow start after his promotion to Triple-A, but he was batting .419 in his past 10 games to raise his average to .367 with the Tides.
“It looks like he has a lot of natural ability with the bat, so after the Futures Game, I think that’s something we can keep an eye on very closely,” Duquette said in the State of the Orioles address.
Showalter said: “We think Hank has a chance to help us at some point.”
Rodriguez, a Carolina League All-Star with Frederick, is 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA since his promotion to Bowie. Showalter said he was impressed with Rodriguez’s growth, and that the 20-year-old’s invitation to spring training this year gave him an opportunity to see what’s expected from him at the highest level.
Walker is batting .311 with 11 home runs and 55 RBIs in 86 games split between Low-A Delmarva and Frederick. A 2012 fourth-round pick out of South Carolina, Walker is batting .359 with three home runs and nine RBIs in his past 10 games for the Keys.
“When you hit third or fourth in the lineup in the Southeastern Conference with the national championship contender, you got to figure there’s some pedigree there,” Showalter said. “I think we’ll see him impact the next level at some point.”
Batting practice in the Derby
When a national television audience is focused on first baseman Chris Davis in Monday night’s Home Run Derby, they’ll also be watching assistant coach Einar Diaz, who will be Davis’ pitcher in the event.
Diaz has been Davis’ batting practice pitcher this season, so it was a natural selection for Davis. Sure, the environment might be a little different — with a packed Citi Field instead of a sparse Camden Yards for batting practice — but he’s still throwing the ball over the plate.
“The noise is going to be different because everyone is going to be watching, and on TV in the stadium, too,” Diaz said. “We’ll see how it goes.”
Plus, Diaz told Davis there was no way he’d be nervous.
“He’ll be fine,” Showalter said. “It’s not pressure on something you do well. What do you do real well? You don’t feel pressure to do that.”
Around the horn
Right-hander Scott Feldman is scheduled to make his third start for the Orioles on Sunday. He’s 0-4 with a 5.45 ERA in six career starts against the Blue Jays. … The Orioles are the third team in history to have four players with at least 105 hits at the All-Star break, along with the 1954 St. Louis Cardinals and 1969 Cincinnati Reds. … Center fielder Adam Jones walked twice in a game for the first time this season. It was the first time since Sept. 13, 2012 and 16th time in his career. … Infielder Jonathan Schoop, the organization’s top-ranked position prospect, went 1-for-1 with a one home run, three RBIs, two runs scored and a walk Saturday in his third rehab appearance with the Gulf Coast League Orioles. … Friday night’s Orioles win marked the first time in franchise history that the team hit three multi-run home runs off a left-hander in a game. … It was also the first time since Aug. 4, 1987 that the Orioles scored eight or more runs in a game with all runs coming on multi-run home runs. … Right-hander Freddy Garcia started for Triple-A Norfolk on Saturday night. … The first 20,000 fans 15 and over to Sunday’s game will receive an Orioles batting practice cap.