LOOK: Switch-pitcher Pat Venditte makes spring debut with Athletics
Ambidextrous pitcher Pat Venditte made his first appearance of the spring with the Athletics on Tuesday.
In the third inning, A's manager Bob Melvin called on switch-pitcher Pat Venditte with two outs. Yes, switch-pitcher. Venditte throws with both arms. He retired a right-handed batter to finish the third, then came back out and retired a left-handed batter to start the fourth. Here's the video:
As you surely noticed, Venditte simply changed arms in the middle of his warm up tosses. He's able to do that thanks to his custom made two-thumbed glove, which he's able to wear on both hands. Check it out:
Venditte, 29, is in camp with the A's as a non-roster player. He was drafted by the Yankees in the 20th round of the 2008 draft and soon thereafter what has become known as the Pat Venditte Rule was created. When a switch-hitter is at the plate, Venditte (or any switch-pitcher) has to declare which arm he will pitch with that at-bat.
In parts of seven seasons with the Yankees, Venditte was very effective, pitching to a 2.46 ERA with 10.1 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 384 2/3 relief innings while reaching Triple-A. He missed most of 2012 due to right shoulder surgery -- Venditte pitched exclusively left-handed for Team Italy in the 2013 World Baseball Classic while rehabbing his right shoulder -- and became a minor league free agent this offseason.
It's unclear if Venditte is good enough to hold down a roster spot in the big leagues -- he's mostly a mid-to-upper 80s fastball guy with an okay breaking ball from both sides -- but if any team could pull off carrying a switch-pitcher, it's Oakland.