Happy Birthday to Pat Venditte! . . . . . . . . . . Who is Pat Venditte?
Pat Venditte is a relief pitcher in the Yankees minor league system. Pat started the year in Double-A ball, but last month he was promoted to the Yankees Triple-A affiliate, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders — so he is only a step away from the majors. This is interesting because Pat Venditte is a switch pitcher.
Pat was drafted in the 45th round by the Yankees in 2007 but did not sign. In 2008, the Yanks drafted Pat in the 20th round and signed him. In June, 2008, Benjamin Hill, writing for MLB.com, detailed Pat’s first minor league appearance — “With two outs and a runner on first in the bottom of the ninth inning, switch-hitter Ralph Henriquez came to the plate representing the Brooklyn Cyclones’ last hope. What resulted was a moment of high comedy: Henriquez entered the batters box batting right-handed, so Venditte switched his glove to his left hand. Henriquez then decided to bat lefty, so Venditte switched his glove back to his right. And on and on it went.”
In order to resume play, the umpire eventually made the batter bat right-handed, and Venditte pitched right-handed and struck him out. Obviously, a new rule was needed.
Basically, the new rule (new in 2008), says that the pitcher must commit, then the batter. But after one pitch, either player may change once and stay that way for the duration of the at bat.
The rules for ambidextrous pitchers —
Pat has a 6-finger glove, which fits either hand.
The Railriders web site lists Pat as a left-handed pitcher, but I checked with the team and he stills pitches with both hands. Also (no surprise) Pat is a switch-hitter.
I noticed that Pat wears number 13. I’m sure the Yankees are hoping that 13 will be available next year (No A-Rod). Finally, if the White Sox ever acquire Pat, Hawk will not need to come up with a nickname — It’s El Pulpo, (The Octopus).