He can throw 80 mph using either arm. Oakland A’s Pat Venditte pitches lefty and righty

Pat Venditte

On June 5th, Athletics prospect and switch-pitcher Pat Venditte made his first Major League appearance and tossed two scoreless innings.

It led to a rarely seen moment against the Red Sox, when Boston’s switch hitting catcher Blake Swihart came up in the bottom of the 8th inning. Since Venditte can thrown 80 mph+ with either arm, and sometimes switches between them, it set up an interesting situation. Being an ambidextrous pitcher should be an advantage. It can allow the pitcher to dictate which side the batter will swing from. Usually it’s the batter that has the advantage. Venditte indicated he would pitched with one arm, then changed his mind.

It may be incredibly rare, but there is a rule to cover this situation. Here’s what the rulebook says:

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.

The reason there is a rule is because of this minor league debate in 2008. The pitcher? Pat Venditte in the short season-A division. A switch hitter vs. a switch pitcher.


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