Pat Venditte

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Pat Venditte
Pat Venditte on August 17, 2015.jpg
Venditte pitching left-handed for the Oakland Athletics in 2015
Oakland Athletics – No. 29
Relief pitcher
Born: (1985-06-30) June 30, 1985 (age 30)
Omaha, Nebraska
Bats: Switch Throws: Switch
MLB debut
June 5, 2015 for the Oakland Athletics
Career statistics
(through August 22, 2015)
Win–loss record 0–1
Earned run average 0.87
Strikeouts 5
Teams

Patrick Michael Venditte, Jr. (/vɛnˈdɛti/; born June 30, 1985) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Oakland Athletics of Major League Baseball (MLB). After attending Creighton University, the New York Yankees drafted Venditte in 2008. He signed with the Athletics as a free agent before the 2015 season, and made his MLB debut that year.

Venditte is a switch pitcher, capable of pitching proficiently with both arms. He is recognized as the only active professional pitcher who is able to do this.[1][2] Venditte's rare ability to pitch with either arm required Minor League Baseball to create a rule for ambidextrous pitchers, known colloquially as the "Pat Venditte Rule". This rule essentially requires any ambidextrous pitcher to declare which hand he will use to pitch to a batter before the at-bat starts, and to throw with that hand through the entire at-bat (unless he is injured during the at-bat).

Early life[edit]

Pat Jr. was born on June 30, 1985 in Omaha, Nebraska, one of four children of Pat Sr. and Janet Venditte.[3] Pat Sr. played college baseball as a catcher.[4] Though his son is naturally right-handed, Pat Sr. trained his son to throw with both arms to give his son an edge in athletic competitions.[5] Toward this end, the Venditte backyard included astroturf, a batting cage, a radar gun, and a pitching machine.[6] In addition to training both arms from a young age, Pat Jr. practiced punting footballs with both legs to establish the leg motion needed when pitching with each arm.[3]

Venditte used both arms when playing in Little League, which sometimes caused him to be confused for twins.[5][6] Venditte attended Omaha Central High School. He had a 5–4 win–loss record during his senior year, earning All-Nebraska second-team honors.[3]

College career[edit]

Venditte joined the Creighton Bluejays in 2005 as a walk-on. Creighton head coach Ed Servais did not allow Venditte to pitch with both arms during his five appearances his freshman year fearing the spectacle would become a "circus". Starting with his sophomore season, Venditte regularly used both arms in collegiate play; he attained a 3.02 earned run average (ERA) in 62 23 innings pitched. After the season, he played collegiate summer baseball for the Quincy Gems of the Central Illinois Collegiate League.[7]

In his junior year, Venditte appeared in 36 of Creighton's 58 games before appearing in the 2007 NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament. His opponents batting average (OBA) of .185 was the fourth best in the nation, and he achieved a 1.85 ERA.[8] At one point during the season, Venditte had a streak of 43 23 scoreless innings.[9] On May 28, 2007, Collegiate Baseball named Venditte the national player of the week.[8]

For the season, Venditte earned first-team All-Conference honors for the Missouri Valley Conference and was named the conference tournament's Most Valuable Player, in which Creigton won its first conference championship.[10] He was named to the All-American third team for the 2007 season.[11] Venditte was also voted Midwest Region Pitcher of the Year by online pitching magazine InsidePitching.com.[12] After the season, he played collegiate summer baseball for the Wisconsin Woodchucks in the Northwoods League. As the Woodchucks' closer, he had a 4–1 record, 9 saves, a 1.76 ERA, and a .154 opponents' batting average.[13]

On June 8, 2007, the New York Yankees selected Venditte in the 45th round of the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft with the 1,345th pick. Venditte was surprised by the pick because he had told all major league scouts that he intended to return to Creighton for his senior year. The Yankees called him during the 30th round of the draft, asking him how much it would take to sign him, but Venditte refused to set a price.[9] Ultimately, the Yankees were unable to sign Venditte before the August 15, 2007 signing deadline.[13] Venditte said that he was not quite ready to turn professional and wanted to build velocity with his left arm and add another pitch with his right arm.[13]

Venditte was again drafted by the Yankees in the 2008 Major League Baseball Draft, in the 20th round with the 620th overall pick, and decided to sign.[14]

Professional career[edit]

New York Yankees[edit]

Venditte pitching right-handed for the Staten Island Yankees, Short-Season A affiliates of the New York Yankees, in 2008

His initial assignment was to the Staten Island Yankees of the Class-A Short-Season New York–Penn League.[14] On June 19, 2008, in his first minor league appearance with Staten Island against the Brooklyn Cyclones, Venditte pitched a scoreless ninth inning for a Yankees win. Before Venditte faced the last Cyclone batter, Ralph Henriquez, a switch-hitter, upon choosing to bat left- or right-handed (with Venditte subsequently choosing to pitch with the same hand), Henriquez would then go to the other side of the plate (and adjust his shin guard—which is worn on the front leg when a batter takes his stance) to regain the advantage. After this had happened several times the teams appealed to the umpiring crew, which ruled that the batter must first select from which side of the plate he intended to hit, and that the pitcher would then be allowed to declare with which arm he would pitch (the Venditte Rule, adopted several weeks later by the umpires' association, would make the opposite determination and preserve the traditional right of a switch-hitter to choose an opposite-handed match-up). Venditte subsequently struck out Henriquez, who slammed his bat against the dirt, to end the game. A film of the incident received notoriety on the Internet and the tale was recounted in a number of places, including within the baseball compendium Rollie's Follies.[15]

Venditte completed the 2008 season with 23 saves in 30 appearances with a 0.83 ERA. His performance earned him a spot on the New York–Penn League All-Star team and the Minor League Baseball Yearly Award for Best Short-Season Reliever.[16]

For the 2009 season, he was assigned to the Charleston RiverDogs of the Class A South Atlantic League.[17] He was promoted to the Tampa Yankees of the Class A-Advanced Florida State League on June 26, 2009.[18] He finished the regular season with a 2.21 ERA and 2 saves in 21 appearances. In October, Venditte pitched for Águilas del Zulia in the Venezuelan Winter League.

Venditte pitched for the Yankees in a spring training game against the Atlanta Braves on March 30, 2010, giving up one earned run on two hits and a walk in 1 13 innings.[19] He started the 2010 season in Tampa, posting a 1.73 ERA through 72 23 innings in 41 appearances. On August 31, 2010 Venditte was promoted to the Trenton Thunder of the Class-AA Eastern League.[20]

Venditte pitched to a 3.41 ERA in 51 appearances with Trenton in 2011.[5] Though Venditte was eligible to be selected in the Rule 5 draft during the 2011–12 offseason, the Yankees chose not to protect him.[21] However, he was not chosen by any MLB team.[22] During the 2011–12 offseason, Venditte pitched in the Mexican Pacific League.[23]

Venditte was promoted to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees of the Class-AAA International League for Opening Day in 2012.[24] He suffered a torn labrum in his right shoulder.[25] He spent most of the 2013 season rehabilitating his shoulder, while also pitching exclusively with his left arm. He pitched for the Italian national baseball team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, and for Trenton in the 2013 postseason.[26][27] He then pitched in the Mexican Pacific League over the winter, and struggled.[26]

The Yankees did not invite Venditte to spring training in 2014.[26] Though Venditte had excellent minor league numbers, he was not considered a top prospect because of his age and, scouts believed, underwhelming fastball velocity.[28] He started the 2014 season with Trenton, but was called up again to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after a month, in which he pitched to a 0.82 ERA and 0.73 walks plus hits per inning pitched ratio in 22 innings.[26] In his first outing after the promotion, he struck out all five batters that he faced, three throwing left-handed and two throwing right-handed.[29] He continued to pitch well for the RailRiders, earning consideration for a major league call-up.[26]

Oakland Athletics[edit]

After the 2014 season, Venditte became a free agent. During the offseason, he signed a minor league contract with the Oakland Athletics, receiving an invitation to spring training in 2015.[30] Venditte began the 2015 season with the Nashville Sounds of the Class AAA Pacific Coast League.[31] He pitched to a 1.36 ERA with 33 strikeouts in 17 games for Nashville before he was promoted to the Athletics for his first major-league stint on June 5.[32][33] He pitched two scoreless innings, and got his first strikeout in his major league debut.[34] Venditte pitched in four games, not allowing a run in 5 23 innings pitched, before he strained his right shoulder and the Athletics placed Venditte on the disabled list on June 12.[35]

Pitching style[edit]

When using his right arm, Venditte delivered over the top and could throw a slider and curveball, as well as a fastball at around 85 miles per hour (137 km/h) that topped out at 87 miles per hour (140 km/h).[5][36] His left-handed delivery is side-armed in which he throws a slider and a fastball that reaches the low-to-mid 80's.[5] Following his 2012 surgery on his right shoulder, Gil Patterson worked with Venditte on utilizing a right-handed sidearm delivery.[26] Although the injury slowed his right arm Venditte's delivery is now almost identical from either side, and observers have mistaken him for identical twins because he warms up one hand with the starting pitchers and the other with the relievers. Venditte is only ambidextrous when pitching; he cannot use his left hand for other tasks like swinging a golf club, writing, or eating.[4]

Venditte generally pitches with his right arm against right-handed batters and left-handed against left-handed batters, which minimizes his opponent's advantage when strategically ordering batters in the line-up based on which side of the plate they hit from.[6] Mizuno has custom-made six-fingered gloves for Venditte since the age of seven with a thumb-hole on each side, allowing him to easily switch back and forth.[5][37][4] By splitting his pitches between his arms, he is able to pitch longer than traditional pitchers before becoming fatigued;[6] ESPN in 2015 speculated that Venditte "has quite possibly thrown more baseballs than any other man his age in history because he's had twice as many arms with which to throw them".[4]

The Pat Venditte Rule[edit]

Venditte's rare ambidextrous abilities prompted the Professional Baseball Umpire Corporation (PBUC) to issue a new rule for dealing with ambidextrous pitchers, limiting the number of times that a switch-pitcher and switch-hitter can change sides during one at-bat. After consulting with a variety of sources, including the Major League Baseball Rules Committee, the PBUC issued its new guidelines on July 3, 2008. [38] OBR Rule 8.01(f) currently reads:

  • A pitcher must indicate visually to the umpire-in-chief, the batter and any runners the hand with which he intends to pitch, which may be done by wearing his glove on the other hand while touching the pitcher’s plate. The pitcher is not permitted to pitch with the other hand until the batter is retired, the batter becomes a runner, the inning ends, the batter is substituted for by a pinch-hitter or the pitcher incurs an injury. In the event a pitcher switches pitching hands during an at-bat because he has suffered an injury, the pitcher may not, for the remainder of the game, pitch with the hand from which he has switched. The pitcher shall not be given the opportunity to throw any preparatory pitches after switching pitching hands. Any change of pitching hands must be indicated clearly to the umpire-in-chief.[39]

Both NCAA and the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) have adopted similar rules. NCAA rule 9-2k and NFHS rule 6–1–1.

Personal life[edit]

Venditte is married to Erin, whom he met while they were both enrolled at Creighton. They reside in Omaha during the offseason.[4]

See also[edit]

  • Greg A. Harris, the only other "switch-pitcher" in Major League Baseball's modern era. Harris enjoyed a 15-year career as a right-handed pitcher and threw left-handed to two batters in a single MLB game.
  • Tony Mullane, a dead-ball-era pitcher who routinely switch-pitched

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mitchell, Baisley, Almonte Pace RiverDogs to 4–2 Wins". Our Sports Central. April 10, 2009. Retrieved April 14, 2009. 
  2. ^ "Pat Venditte Stats, Bio, Photos, Highlights | MiLB.com Stats | The Official Site of Minor League Baseball". Web.minorleaguebaseball.com. Retrieved September 1, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c Tooley, Katie; Shields, Kevin (2007). "2007 Bluejay Baseball Media Guide". Creighton University Sports Information Office. Retrieved April 14, 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Jones, Chris (May 12, 2015). "Show of Hands: Ambidextrous pitcher Pat Venditte has the rarest of MLB skills". ESPN The Magazine. Retrieved June 6, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f Kennedy, Brendan (March 30, 2012). "New York Yankees prospect Pat Venditte pitches from both sides of the mound". Toronto: thestar.com. Retrieved June 2, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c d Nicholl, Conor (May 18, 2007). "Ambidextrous Venditte turning heads". MLB.com. 
  7. ^ "Quincy's Quinn belts walk-off grand slam off Stars' Facer". The Pantagraph (Bloomington, Illinois). June 21, 2006. Retrieved August 24, 2012.  (subscription required)
  8. ^ a b Pivovar, Steven (May 29, 2007a). "CU Baseball: National honor, Valley MVP award elevate pitcher Venditte". Omaha World-Herald. 
  9. ^ a b Olson, Eric (June 8, 2007). "Yankees draft switch-pitching Venditte". North County Times. 
  10. ^ "Venditte MVP As Baseball Shocks Wichita State, 10–9, In 12 Inning Tourney Final". Creighton University Athletics. 2007. Retrieved April 14, 2009. 
  11. ^ Pivovar, Steven (May 31, 2007b). "NCAA Baseball: Cowboys limp into regional". Omaha World-Herald. 
  12. ^ Stone, Tyson (June 1, 2007). "InsidePitching.com Announces Region Pitchers of the Year". InsidePitching.com. 
  13. ^ a b c Schwarz, Alan (August 17, 2007b). "Yankees Sign Draft Picks, but Not Ambidextrous Pitcher". New York Times. 
  14. ^ a b McCarron, Anthony (June 12, 2008). "Ambidextrous pitcher Pat Venditte headed to Staten Island Yankees". New York Daily News. Retrieved August 24, 2012. 
  15. ^ Mallozzi, Vincent (June 21, 2008). "Double-Barreled Pitcher Provides Shot of Confusion". New York Times. Retrieved April 10, 2009. 
  16. ^ Wild, Danny (October 29, 2008). "Venditte the best from every angle". MLB.com. Retrieved April 10, 2009. 
  17. ^ "RiverDogs Roster Features Six Top Yankees Prospects". Our Sports Central. April 6, 2009. Retrieved April 10, 2009. 
  18. ^ "A few things ...". The Journal News; The Lohud Yankees Blog. June 27, 2009. Retrieved September 1, 2010. 
  19. ^ Hoch, Bryan (2010). "Switch-pitching Venditte debuts with NY". MLB.com. Retrieved March 30, 2010. 
  20. ^ Ashmore, Mike (August 31, 2010). "Switch-pitcher Pat Venditte promoted to the Thunder". The Trentonian. Retrieved September 1, 2010. 
  21. ^ "Switch-pitcher Pat Venditte to be available in Rule 5 draft | HardballTalk". Hardballtalk.nbcsports.com. November 18, 2011. Retrieved June 2, 2012. 
  22. ^ SteveB, NJ.com fan blogger. "Rule 5 Draft: 1 Pick, No Losses, Other MLB Moves | NJ.com". Blog.nj.com. Retrieved June 2, 2012. 
  23. ^ "Yankees Rule 5 pick thriving in winter ball | The Lohud Yankees Blog". Yankees.lhblogs.com. December 17, 2011. Retrieved June 2, 2012. 
  24. ^ AP. "Yankees get Opening Day test against AL East rival Tampa Bay Ray | syracuse.com". Blog.syracuse.com. Retrieved June 2, 2012. 
  25. ^ "Venditte hoping to avoid surgery on torn labrum". Omaha.com. May 21, 2012. Retrieved June 2, 2012. 
  26. ^ a b c d e f Baumbach, Jim (August 17, 2014). "Ambidextrous pitcher Pat Venditte hoping for his call to the majors". Newsday.com. 
  27. ^ Peruffo, Nick (August 14, 2013). "THUNDER: Switch-pitcher Venditte returns to Trenton". The Trentonian. 
  28. ^ Schwarz, Alan (June 13, 2009). "Switch-Pitcher Venditte Impressing Fans But Not Many Scouts". New York Times. Retrieved June 16, 2009. 
  29. ^ "Switch-pitcher Pat Venditte leads RailRiders to victory". Times-Leader (Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania: Civitas Media). May 18, 2014. Retrieved May 19, 2014. 
  30. ^ "Former Creighton switch-pitcher Pat Venditte signs with A's". Omaha News-Herald. November 19, 2014. Retrieved November 19, 2014. 
  31. ^ "Nashville Sounds release their 2015 roster". The Tennessean. April 5, 2015. Retrieved June 5, 2015. 
  32. ^ Gleeman, Aaron (June 5, 2015). "Switch-pitcher alert! A’s call up right/left-hander Pat Venditte". hardballtalk.nbcsports.com. Retrieved June 5, 2015. 
  33. ^ "Athletics call up switch-pitcher Pat Venditte from Triple-A". Yahoo Sports. June 5, 2015. Retrieved June 5, 2015. 
  34. ^ Lee, Jane (6 June 2015). "Ambidextrous Venditte hurls two shutout frames". Oakland Athletics (Major League Baseball, LLC). Retrieved 6 June 2015. 
  35. ^ Slusser, Susan (June 12, 2015). "Switch pitcher Pat Venditte goes on A’s disabled list". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved July 27, 2015. 
  36. ^ Benjamin, Kabak (June 15, 2009a). "Profiling Pat Venditte". River Avenue Blues. 
  37. ^ Schwarz, Alan (April 6, 2007a). "Throwing Batters Curves Before Throwing a Pitch". New York Times. Retrieved August 19, 2014. 
  38. ^ Abraham, Peter (2008). "The switch-pitcher rule change". LoHud Yankees Blog. Retrieved July 3, 2008. 
  39. ^ "2013 Edition: Official Baseball Rules" (PDF). MLB.com. 2013. Retrieved March 5, 2015. 

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