Henry Urrutia is in his fifth season in the Mexican Baseball League. This year he is hitting .302 with 11 home runs and 39 RBIs in 51 games played. The Cuban led the league last season in hitting with a robust .420 batting average.
At the age of 36, Urrutia has played in several leagues in the Caribbean and made his MLB debut 10 years ago with the Baltimore Orioles. This year he finally got his due by being elected for the first time to the LMB all-star game after terrorizing the league’s pitching for the last five seasons.
The slugger also made history during the winter by also winning the batting title in arguably the toughest league in the Caribbean, the LIDOM. The native of Las Tunas, Cuba hit .318 during the league’s regular season and was eventually selected to reinforce the circuit’s monarchs the Tigres del Licey in the Caribbean World Series.
Although he knee injury limited Urrutia during the tournament he still managed to drive in two key runs in the semifinals versus Los Mochis and score a run in the final against Caracas, a game in which Licey shutout the felines to claim there 11th series title.
— Ariel Santa Cruz (@ArielSCPE) June 22, 2023
It was your first all-star game in the Mexican Baseball League. How did you feel about being elected to the game for the first time?
I’m very happy that I got elected, I was finally voted in and I relished the achievement and experience. In the five years that I’ve been playing here, it’s the first time I’ve gone to an All-Star Game. If I felt quite emotional, I was happy to share my selection with a few other Cubans and we had a great time together at the game.
You didn’t participate in the Home Run Derby but you were very active supporting your two teammates, who ultimately made it to the finals. Would you have liked to participate?
Not really, I don’t like Derbys. I try to keep my swing as short as possible and the Derbys tinker with my swing. These events make my swing a bit long and misalign it in the process, so I usually decline to participate in these kind of events.
You have been in Saltillo for several years now. Do you consider yourself the face of the team?
No, the truthfully I don’t consider myself the captain or the face of the team. Many people on the social media networks of the Saltillo fans, whom I love very much, have unofficially named me as team captain, but I do not consider it that way. I’m just another player, I try to do my part to help us win.
This year Ariel Miranda came to Saltillo. How do you feel playing with him?
It’s not the first time I’ve played with him, we played together for the Baltimore Orioles. He is tremendous player and a warrior. When he takes the mound he pitches as if he were still in the Major Leagues. That is what I like the most about him, that he is a competitor who goes out to gives his all. We have a great time during games, we go out on the field to have fun, but above all our objective is to win.
You are a very smart player and a great connoisseur of the game. Although you have many years to play, do you see yourself in the future as a manager?
I don’t think my future will be in baseball when I retire. I have other things in my head, other aspirations and being a manager is not one of them. Obviously I’ll always be there for the new guys who need advice or whatever it is, I’ll always be there for my friends above all. I want to be on a more private level with my life when I retire, not the manager or coach of a team.