Monday, December 27, 2010

Switch Pitchers in the News

Switch-pitcher comes to Rays with 42nd pick
Despite rare ability, Vettleson likely to make name in outfield
By Bill Chastain /  06/08/10

ST. PETERSBURG -- Drew Vettleson, a high school outfielder/pitcher from Silverdale, Wash., became the third and final pick of the Rays on Monday, Day 1 of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.

The Rays selected Vettleson with their "sandwich pick," which was the 42nd overall of the Draft.

Vettleson is also a high school player and possesses the rare ability of being able to throw right-handed and left-handed. Though he can touch 90 mph on the mound, he is known as a better outfield prospect with power potential from the left side.

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Switch-pitcher: More than just a novelty act
Carla Swank | Rivals High  April 19, 2010

New York Yankees pitcher Pat Venditte got the attention of the sports world last month when he became baseball's first "switch-pitcher" in a spring training game - throwing to batters as both a right-hander and left-hander.
Drew Vettleson, a senior at Central Kitsap High in Silverdale, Wash., was watching more closely than most.
Vettleson is an ambidextrous pitcher, too.
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How do you beat a guy who throws righty and lefty? You don't.
by Rick Reilly | ESPN The Magazine

You'll probably never witness an unassisted triple play in your lifetime, right? (There have been only 14.) Or see an intentional walk with the bases loaded. (Six.) Or watch one player hit two grand slams in an inning. (Once.)
But you can see something right now that hasn't been around in baseball since the late 1800s: a switch-pitcher.
His name is Pat Venditte, he's 23, and he's pro baseball's only ambidextrous pitcher.

Yanks fond of switch-pitching Venditte
In relief of Sabathia, 24-year-old gets results from both sides
By Bryan Hoch /  March 30, 2010
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Listing Pat Venditte's name on the Yankees' travel roster on Tuesday was born out of curiosity for manager Joe Girardi, who has been scouring the organizational reports on the switch-pitcher with a certain level of fascination.
Yet for the 24-year-old Venditte, coming out of the bullpen to relieve CC Sabathia against the Braves represented an opportunity to showcase his stuff -- with both arms -- while hopefully demonstrating that his career is more than just a popular Minor League gimmick.
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Girardi intrigued by 'switch-pitcher'
Venditte likely to appear in Yanks' game against Braves
By Anthony DiComo /  March 29, 2010

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Manager Joe Girardi does not usually have input on which Minor Leaguers accompany the Yankees on Spring Training road trips. This spring, however, Girardi made one special request.
Pat Venditte, the ambidextrous "switch-pitcher," will accompany New York to Lake Buena Vista, Fla., on Tuesday for a 1:05 p.m. ET split-squad game against the Atlanta Braves on MLB.TV. There is a good chance that Girardi will call on Venditte to pitch in his first Major League Spring Training game.
"I've wanted to see it all spring," Girardi said. "I think it's interesting."
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Switch-Pitcher Venditte Impressing Fans but Not Many Scouts
By ALAN SCHWARZ | NY Times June 13, 2009
CHARLESTON, S.C. — The Yankees, whose bullpen is among the worst in the American League, have two arms in Class A ball leading the minor leagues in saves. The left-handed one has kept hitters to a .121 batting average; the right-handed one has not walked anyone in 20 innings. This would all be rather straightforward, except that both arms belong to the same body.
Pat Venditte, the only switch-pitcher in professional baseball, is one of the most dominant — and well-known — players in the minor leagues. National news organizations travel to Charleston, S.C., to revel in his uniqueness. Fans see his statistics and dream of matchup mayhem. But experienced talent evaluators see not just one underwhelming fastball, but two. Sorry, kid.
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The Switch Pitcher
Minor League Ball Player Blessed With 2 Great Arms, Prompts New Pitching Rule
By Jim Axelrod, CBS Evening News  May 21, 2009
Pat Venditte is a pitcher who puts on his pants just like every other minor leaguer. But when it comes to his glove …

It's a six-fingered glove," Venditte said. "There's two thumbs. There's one pocket here in the middle." 

That's when you realize he is unlike any pitcher you've ever seen, blessed not with one great arm, but two, reports CBS News correspondent Jim Axelrod.

The reversible glove allows him to switch pitch in a moment's notice, throwing a 90 mile-an-hour fastball with his right arm, then unleashing a collection of baffling curves with his left. 

Baseball Players Change-Ups
CBS Evening News  July 15, 2008

Ambidextrous Staten Island Pitcher, Pat Venditte pitches lefty and righty. Brooklyn's switch-hitting catcher, Ralph Henriquez attempted to switch accordingly. This charade went on for several minutes.
Watch the Video

Creighton's Venditte is two pitchers in one
by Sam Miles, Columbia Missourian, May 6, 2008 

It’s the eighth inning of Tuesday’s Creighton-Missouri game, Creighton leading 4-1, and Bluejays pitcher Pat Venditte has just made Tigers outfielder Ryan Lollis look silly. Pitching left-handed and releasing the ball from a point just above sidearm, Venditte fired three consecutive nasty pitches, the final one resulting in a swing, a miss, and a return to the dugout for Lollis. He never had a chance. 

Pat Venditte is an oddity. He’s a pitcher, he’s ambidextrous, and he’s very good, good enough to be drafted by the Yankees last year. Because batters tend to hit considerably better when facing a pitcher throwing from the opposite side, Venditte always has the matchup advantage. When a left-hander comes to bat, he pitches left-handed, and when a right-hander is up, he throws right-handed. According to the Creighton media guide, he’s a natural right-hander who has been able to throw with both arms since he was three years old.

Ambidextrous Venditte turning heads 
Creighton University reliever a complete bullpen in himself
By Conor Nicholl /  May 18, 2007

NORMAL, Ill. -- At first, Pat Venditte resembled hundreds of other collegiate pitchers. The Creighton University reliever entered Saturday's contest against Illinois State and started throwing left-handed. Every pitch was tossed sidearm and crossed the plate at 78-81 mph.

After a few throws, however, Venditte made a remarkable transformation.

He moved his glove to his left hand and started throwing right-handed. This time, every pitch was thrown over the top and hit the catcher's mitt at 88-91 mph. He repeated the process to three hitters, hitting a batter right-handed, coaxing a double play left-handed and striking out another with a right-handed curveball.

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