Oakland’s Lefty/Righty Pat Venditte Is a Switch-Pitcher Extraordinaire — And He’s Not Alone
Pat Venditte is a baseball anomaly. The reliever, who was invited to the Oakland A’s major league spring training, is a switch-pitcher. Yup, he throws left- and right-handed, making him a double-barreled threat.
On Tuesday, Venditte pitched in a game against the Giants, inducing an inning-ending groundout from the right side and then opening the next frame by getting a called strikeout from the left:
Venditte, 29, has been bouncing around the minors for the last several years, topping out at Triple-A in 2012 as a Yankees prospect. In 2008, he and an opposing batter had an odd showdown when Venditte and the batter, a switch hitter, kept changing sides before the umpire ruled both players had to go righty. Venditte so confused matters that Major League Baseball instituted a rule in which a pitcher could not switch which arm he’d throw with during an at-bat.
The 29-year-old’s story is so offbeat that he was even the subject of an ESPN E:60 report a few years ago.
Venditte would not be the major’s first ambidextrous pitcher. The Expos’ Greg Harris pitched with both arms in a game back in 1995, although that was toward the end of his career and he hadn’t ever done it prior to that one time.
And wouldn’t you know it? Venditte isn’t even the only current pitcher to go ambidextrous. Aubrey McCarty, who pitches for defending NCAA champion Vanderbilt, throws both ways too. Could this be a new trend?