The switch-pitcher’s debut

It’s been nearly two years since I first wrote about Pat Venditte, who at the time was a switch-pitcher in the Yankees organization.  Last night, Venditte made his Major League debut with the Oakland A’s, as they faced the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.

How did he do?  The first full-time switch-pitcher of the modern era threw two scoreless innings, beginning the seventh pitching with his left arm to get Brock Holt to ground out, then coaxing a double-play ball out of Mike Napoli throwing with his right.  He only faced three in the eighth inning, though switch-hitter Blake Swihart did give him a momentary crisis of “which side should I pitch from?”

That’s not a bad conundrum to have, in the grand scheme of things.  To be a young pitcher making history in this manner, and having the opportunity to do it at Fenway?  Can’t complain about that!

2 thoughts on “The switch-pitcher’s debut

  1. The switch-hitter conundrum got me to wondering…..I doubt it’s allowed, but can a batter switch sides of the plate in the same at-bat? Can a pitcher throw from both the left and right side while pitching to the same batter? Does Venditte take two gloves to the mound, or just one? Going further, can a pitcher use both arms to throw two balls at once to the same batter? If a batter strikes out swinging at one ball but gets hit by the other, is the batter still awarded first base? And if a batter hits both pitched balls at the same time, can the infield still turn the double play? Get back to me on this when you can, Precious. 🙂

    1. Venditte has a specially-made glove, with six fingers and a pocket on both sides, so that he can use the same glove with both hands. My understanding about the rule is that a pitcher must first declare which arm he’s going to use to throw and then continue use that arm until the conclusion of the at-bat. I don’t know if the same rule applies to the batter — considering Babe Ruth’s attempt at switch hitting, and my own experience switching sides while I was playing softball, it doesn’t seem so. Then again, Ruth played quite a while ago, and I was playing softball, not baseball, so it could very well be a rule for the hitter too.

      Considering only one ball is used to play the game, I doubt Venditte will ever have the opportunity in an official game to throw two balls at once 😉

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