Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Yankees' Pat Venditte to Make Major League Debut

According to The Associated Press, Pat Venditte is Major League Baseball’s only ambidextrous pitcher, and he will play in his first major league spring training game on Tuesday, March 30th, in a split-squad game against the Atlanta Braves.

The 24-year-old Venditte is equipped with a custom six-finger glove for throwing with either arm. In 2008, Venditte was a 20th-round draft pick. Last season, in the minor leagues, he went a combined 4-2 with a 1.87 ERA and 22 saves.

Venditte became famous after his first minor league game when he faced off with switch-hitter Ralph Henriquez of the Brooklyn Cyclones. Venditte and Henriquez played a game of cat and mouse, with Henriquez switching sides of the plate every time Venditte switched his specially designed glove from his left hand to the right, as  he was preparing to pitch from the same side the hitter chose. The umpires stepped in, restoring order by requiring the pitcher to decide the hand he will use first, then the hitter can choose his side. Venditte struck Henriquez out on four pitches.

One month later, the Professional Baseball Umpire Corporation released a series of rules pertaining to Venditte's situation, allowing both batters and pitchers to switch sides once per at-bat. The new rules regarding a switch-hitter and switch pitcher are known as "The Venditte Rule."

Venditte will be in the bullpen for the Yanks with lefty CC Sabathia getting the start.

Switch-pitching Venditte debuts with NY - MLB.com
In relief of Sabathia, 24-year-old gets results from both sides

For the 24-year-old Venditte, coming out of the bullpen to relieve CC Sabathia against the Braves at Champion Stadium represented a huge opportunity to showcase his stuff -- with both arms -- while hopefully proving that this can be more than just a popular Minor League gimmick.

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