The “Pat Venditte Rule”

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, 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 —

  1. 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.
  2. The pitcher must throw one pitch to the batter before any “switch” by either player is allowed.
  3. 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).
  4. Any switch (by either the pitcher or the batter) must be clearly indicated to the umpire.
  5. There will be no warm-up pitches during the change of arms.
  6. If an injury occurs the pitcher may change arms but not use that arm again during the remainder of the game.

Pat Venditte Glove


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).

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