Legends On Deck

Switch-Pitcher Pat Venditte Makes MLB Debut

Venditte lefty right

Photo Credit: Barry Chin/Boston Globe Staff

Switch-pitching phenom Pat Venditte was promoted on Friday morning and made his Major League Debut with the Oakland A’s at Fenway Park against the Boston Red Sox.

Venditte, who is a natural right hander, is the first ambidextrous pitcher to play in the Majors since 1995 when  Greg Harris did so while playing with the Montreal Expos.

Venditte was called out of the bullpen on Friday night in the seventh inning as the A’s trailed the Red Sox 4-2.

Venditte was seen warming up throwing with his right arm and then when it was time to face his first batter Brok Holt he went for the left arm. Hanley Ramirez then stepped up to the plate and Venditte chose to throw with his right arm. After a single by Ramirez, Venditte was able to force a double play by using his left arm to pitch to Mike Napoli.

After two innings of work, Venditte allowed just one hit and struck out one batter, but overall a good outing for a pitcher who has waited a longtime to make his Major League Debut.

The 29 year old Venditte was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 20th Round of the MLB Draft while playing at Creighton. In the last seven seasons with the Yankees he recorded 52 saves and made nine starts while battling injuries.

This past off-season he signed as a free agent with the Oakland A’s where he impressed with his skills out of the bullpen and was assigned to the Triple-A Nashville Sounds to start the season. Before getting his call-up, Venditte was 1-0 and struck out thirty-three batters in seventeen games with a ERA of just 1.36.

Due to Pat Venditte’s unique pitching style Major League Baseball implemented what is known as the “Venditte Rule” into the books. A switch-pitcher must indicate to the home plate  umpire which arm he intends to use and he must continue to pitch with that arm for that entire at-bat. This rule is also for switch-hitters and once they step into the batter’s box, they are committed to hitting on that side of the plate for that at-bat.

Venditte also has a unique glove that allows him to pitch as both a lefty and a righty, just an amazing talent for a young pitching prospect.

Interesting Note

Major League Baseball even created the Venditte Rule:

Venditte Rule

Bethany Cohen
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