Friday, December 5, 2014

Switch Pitching Rules - The Pat Venditte Rule

Pat Venditte shows off his Mizuno Ambidextrous Glove
Ambidextrous pitcher Pat Venditte's ability to pitch right- or left-handed prompted a change in the MLB rule book.

At the heart of the new guidelines, for switch pitchers,  is the following provision:
The pitcher must visually indicate to the umpire, batter and runner(s) which way he will begin pitching to the batter. Engaging the rubber with the glove on a particular hand is considered a definitive commitment to which arm he will throw with. The batter will then choose which side of the plate he will bat from.

The guidelines also permit both the batter and pitcher to change positions (from right-handed to left-handed or vice versa) once per at-bat.


The Professional Baseball Umpire Corporation (PBUC) released its official rules for dealing with ambidextrous pitchers in July 2008. These guidelines were reached after PBUC staff consulted with a variety of sources, including the Major League Baseball Rules Committee.


The new rules regarding ambidextrous pitchers:

• The pitcher must visually indicate to the umpire, batter and runner(s) which way he will begin pitching to the batter. Engaging the rubber with the glove on a particular hand is considered a definitive commitment to which arm he will throw with. The batter will then choose which side of the plate he will bat from.

• The pitcher must throw one pitch to the batter before any "switch" by either player is allowed.


• After one pitch is thrown, the pitcher and batter may each change positions one time per at-bat. For example, if the pitcher changes from right-handed to left-handed and the batter then changes batter's boxes, each player must remain that way for the duration of that at-bat (unless the offensive team substitutes a pinch hitter, and then each player may again "switch" one time).


• Any switch (by either the pitcher or the batter) must be clearly indicated to the umpire.


• There will be no warm-up pitches during the change of arms.

• If an injury occurs the pitcher may change arms but not use that arm again during the remainder of the game.



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Pat Venditte comments on the rule.


BBD:  What are your thoughts on the Pat Venditte rule? Is it fair?
PV: I wish it was the other way around where the switch hitters didn’t get the advantage. If the switch hitters had to decide which side they would hit from before the at bat instead of vice versa, that would have been really helpful. It would be a huge advantage to be able to face those switch hitters as right handers, but it is what it is and I’ve been working through it. The rule has been in place for a long time now though and I will continue to do my best to work around it. 
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2015 Official Baseball Rule 5.07(f) (formerly 2014 OBR 8.01(f))
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