Every player that hits from only the left or the right side is considered a lefty or a righty at the plate. Some talented hitters can bat from both sides and are switch-hitters. Every player throws with either his left or his right arm. Very few have the ability to throw with both. Pat Venditte is one of those few.
Venditte is like a unicorn in a baseball jersey. While almost every baseball player tries to throw with his opposite hand at some point in his life, Pat Venditte doesn’t just try – he is actually good. His right-handed fastball can reach up to 94 mph and sits around 90 mph. His left-handed fastball is a little slower at 85 mph. He throws sliders from both sides as well.
Hailing from Creighton University, Venditte was a 45th round selection of the New York Yankees in 2007. He stayed in school for his senior season and was then chosen in the 20th round a year later, again by the Yankees. Venditte reached Triple-A in 2012 and again in 2014, but became a free agent after last season. He signed with the Oakland Athletics and has become the talk of the A’s Spring Training so far with his unique pitching ability.
The switch-pitcher is 29 years old, and is probably the only player with a customized glove that can be worn on either hand. It has a slot for his thumb on either end, totaling six finger holes and enabling Venditte to use the same glove no matter which hand he is pitching with.
Pat Venditte creates new rule
There is even a rule that was made because of Venditte. A pitcher must clearly indicate which arm will be used to pitch with when stepping on the rubber. Then the batter can take his place in the batter’s box. The hitter and the pitcher may both switch sides once during the at-bat after the first pitch has been thrown. There may have been few times when this rule is needed during a game, but it will definitely be on the minds of players during Venditte’s appearances in Spring Training.
It is no wonder that the Oakland A’s of all teams were the ones to sign Pat Venditte to a free agent deal and invite him to Spring Training. Even without looking at his numbers, he appears like the Moneyball type of player Billy Beane would want on his team. A player who can have a lefty vs. righty advantage on almost every hitter in a game is golden, assuming he is effective. We will see how things turn out for the soon-to-be 30-year old ambidextrous pitcher.