Orioles sign Cuban outfielder Henry Urrutia

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Baseball America reports that the Orioles have signed 25-year-old Henry Urrutia, a Cuban outfielder, to a minor league contract with a $778,500 bonus.

One of the best hitters for average in Cuba, Urrutia batted .397/.461/.597 with12 homers in 305 at-bats for Las Tunas in 2010. However, he did that as a full-time designated hitter and his power production wasn’t especially impressive given the usual numbers compiled by stars in Cuba. That his bonus was less than a million dollars even though he did fall under the new 2012 bonus rules for international players — meaning the $2.9 million-per-team cap didn’t apply — suggests that few teams took him seriously as a potential major leaguer.

BA believes Urrutia will start his U.S. career in Double-A. It’s doubtful we’ll see him in the majors this year, but if he does surprise and starts crushing the ball right away, the Orioles could always give him a look in September.

Yanks place Nestor Cortes on 15-day injured list with left rotator cuff strain

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
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The Yankees placed Nestor Cortes on the 15-day injured list Thursday with a left rotator cuff strain that will sideline the left-hander for at least two starts.

The move is retroactive to Monday and Cortes will be shut down for at least 15 days.

After Tuesday’s game, Cortes said the shoulder has been bothering him between starts and more so after he pitched five innings May 30 in Seattle.

“I took two days off and when I got to LA and threw that first day, I didn’t feel right,” Cortes said Tuesday. “But it was first day coming back from pitching so I knew it was going to be nagging a little bit. So I waited a little bit.

“That second day in LA was when I said something because it felt like I had pitched yesterday. So I wasn’t recovering in time.”

Cortes is 5-2 with a 5.16 ERA in 11 starts and has particularly struggled later in outings. Opponents are hitting .447 when facing him for the third time in a game.

Last year, Cortes was an All-Star and went 12-4 with a 2.44 ERA in 28 starts.

Randy Vásquez was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre to take Cortes’ spot in the rotation and will make his second career start in Thursday’s doubleheader. Vásquez made his major league debut May 26 against San Diego when the Yankees needed a starter because Domingo Germán was serving a 10-game suspension for using sticky substances.