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Pat Venditte

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Patrick Michael Venditte Jr. (born June 30, 1985 in Omaha, Nebraska) is an American baseball player. He is a minor league baseball player currently in the New York Yankees organization He pitches in Tampa Bay in the High A division. Venditte is a "switch pitcher", meaning he can pitch and throw proficiently with both arms. He is recognized as the only professional pitcher who is able to do this.[1] He was drafted by the New York Yankees in 2007 but opted to return to Creighton for his senior year.[2] He was again drafted by the Yankees in the 2008 Major League Baseball Draft, in the 20th round with the 620th overall pick, and decided to sign. His initial assignment was to the Staten Island Yankees.

Early lifeEdit

One of four children of Pat Sr. and Janet Venditte, Pat Jr. was born on June 30, 1985 in Omaha, Nebraska [3] Pat Sr. noticed his son's ambidexterity when Pat Jr. was three years old, and encouraged vigorous ambidextrous athletic training throughout Pat Jr.'s childhood. Toward this end, the Venditte backyard included astroturf, a batting cage, a radar gun, and a pitching machine.[4] In addition to training both arms from a young age, Pat Jr. practiced punting footballs with both legs in order to establish the leg motion needed when pitching with each arm.[3]

Venditte used both arms when playing in little league which sometimes caused him to be confused for twins.[4] In high school, Venditte played for Omaha Central High School, achieving a 5-4 record his senior year and All-Nebraska second team honors.[3]

College careerEdit

Venditte joined the Creighton Bluejays in 2005 as a walk-on. Creighton head coach Ed Servais did not allow Venditte to pitch with both arms during his five appearances his freshman year fearing the spectacle would become a "circus" . However, Venditte has regularly used both arms in collegiate play since his sophomore year in which he attained a 3.02 ERA in 62.2 innings. In his junior year, Venditte appeared in 36 of Creighton's 58 games before going into the 2007 NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament. His opponents batting average of .185 was the fourth best in the nation, and he achieved an 1.85 ERA[5]. At one point during the season, Venditte had a streak of 43 2/3 scoreless innings.[6] In the 2007 season, Venditte earned first-team all-conference honors for the Missouri Valley Conference and led Creighton to its first ever conference championship in which he was named the tournament MVP.[7] On May 28, 2007, Collegiate Baseball named Venditte the national player of the week.[5] He was named to the All-American third team for the 2007 season.[8] Venditte was also voted Midwest Region Pitcher of the Year by online pitching magazine InsidePitching.com.[9]

On June 8, 2007, in the 45th Round of the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft, the New York Yankees selected Venditte with the 1345th pick of the draft. Venditte was surprised by the pick because he had told all major league scouts that he intended to return to Creighton for his senior year. The Yankees called him during the 30th round of the draft asking him how much it would take to sign him, but Venditte refused to set a price[6]. Ultimately, the Yankees were unable to sign Venditte before the August 15, 2007 signing deadline. Venditte said that he was not quite ready to turn professional and wanted to build velocity with his left arm and add another pitch with his right arm.[2]

Venditte played 2006 summer ball for the Central Illinois Collegiate League's Quincy Gems, and 2007 summer ball for the Wisconsin Woodchucks in the Northwoods League. As the Woodchucks' closer, he had a 4-1 record, 9 saves, a 1.76 ERA, and a .154 opponents' batting average.[2]

He was selected with the 620th pick in the 2008 MLB Draft by the New York Yankees.

Minor League CareerEdit

On June 19, 2008, in his first minor league appearance with the Staten Island Yankees against their crosstown rivals the Brooklyn Cyclones (the respective Yankees and Mets affiliates are the only two minor league teams in New York City), Venditte pitched a scoreless ninth inning for a Yankees win. The appearance is notable because there was an unusual incident before Venditte faced the last Cyclone batter; the batter, Ralph Henriquez, is a switch-hitter, and upon choosing to bat left- or right-handed (with Venditte subsequently choosing to pitch with the same hand), Henriquez would then go to the other side of the plate (and adjust his shin guard--which is worn on the front leg when a batter takes his stance) to regain the advantage. After this had happened several times the teams appealed to the umpiring crew, which ruled that the batter must first select from which side of the plate he intended to hit, and that the pitcher would then be allowed to declare with which arm he would pitch. Venditte subsequently struck out a very frustrated Henriquez (who slammed his bat against the dirt in anger) to end the game.[10] Venditte completed the season with 23 saves in 30 appearances with a 0.83 ERA. His performance earned him a spot on the New York-Penn League All-Star team and the Minor League Baseball Yearly Award for Best Short-Season Reliever.[11]

For the 2009 season he was assigned to the Charleston RiverDogs of the Single A South Atlantic League.[12]

Though Venditte is considered a fan favorite and has excellent minor league numbers, he is not considered a top prospect because of his age and underwhelming fastball velocity.[13]

He was promoted to the Tampa Yankees of the Florida State League on the 26th June 2009.[14]

Pat Venditte Minor League Statistics (updated 8/5/2009)
YearTeamLeague W L ERA GP SV H R ER BB SO
2008 Staten Island Yankees New York-Penn 1 0 0.83 30 23 13 5 3 10 42
2009 Charleston RiverDogs South Atlantic 2 2 1.47 28 20 24 8 5 2 40
2009 Tampa Yankees Florida State 1 0 2.70 10 1 15 7 5 4 24

Pitching styleEdit

When using his right arm, Venditte delivers over the top and can throw a curveball as well as a fastball reaching up to 94 mph. His left-handed delivery is side-armed in which he throws a slider and a moderately slower fastball. Venditte uses a custom made six-fingered glove with a thumb-hole on each side allowing him to easily switch back and forth.[15] He generally pitches with his right arm against right-handed batters and left-handed against left-handed batters which minimizes his opponent's advantage when strategically ordering batters in the line-up based on which side of the plate they hit from.[4] Furthermore, by splitting his pitches between his arms, he is able to pitch longer than traditional pitchers before becoming fatigued.[4]

On July 3, 2008, the Professional Baseball Umpire Corporation issued a new rule to limit the number of times a switch-pitcher and switch-hitter can change sides during one at-bat.[16]

The Pat Venditte RuleEdit

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

It reads:

  • 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.

See alsoEdit

  • Greg Harris, the only "switch-pitcher" in major-league baseball's modern era

External linksEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Template:Citation/make link, Our Sports Central, April 10, 2009, http://www.oursportscentral.com/services/releases/?id=3803592, retrieved 2009-04-14 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Schwarz, Alan (August 17 2007), Template:Citation/make link, New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/17/sports/baseball/17draft.html?em&ex=1187496000&en=b50b0389834cd694&ei=5087%0A 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 .Tooley, Katie; Shields, Kevin (2007), Template:Citation/make link, Creighton University Sports Information Office, http://www.gocreighton.com/ViewArticle.dbml?SPSID=89370&SPID=78&DB_OEM_ID=1000&ATCLID=1393503, retrieved 2009-04-14 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Nicholl, Conor (May 18, 2007), Template:Citation/make link, MLB.com, http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20070518&content_id=1971888&vkey=draft2007&fext=.jsp 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Pivovar, Steven (May 29, 2007), Template:Citation/make link, Omaha World-Herald, http://www.omaha.com/index.php?u_page=1200&u_sid=2392608 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Olson, Eric (June 8, 2007), Template:Citation/make link, North County Times, http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2007/06/09/sports/professional/21_26_196_8_07.txt 
  7. Template:Citation/make link, Creighton University Athletics, 2007, http://www.gocreighton.com/ViewArticle.dbml?SPSID=89371&SPID=78&DB_OEM_ID=1000&ATCLID=1146882, retrieved 2009-04-14 
  8. Pivovar, Steven (May 31, 2007), Template:Citation/make link, Omaha World-Herald, http://www.omaha.com/index.php?u_page=1200&u_sid=2393507 
  9. Stone, Tyson (June 1 2007), Template:Citation/make link, InsidePitching.com, http://www.insidepitching.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=626 
  10. Mallozzi, Vincent (June 21, 2008), Template:Citation/make link, New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/21/sports/baseball/21switch.html?em&ex=1214280000&en=80ab836ccb776a32&ei=5087%0A, retrieved 2009-04-10 
  11. Wild, Danny (October 29 2008), Template:Citation/make link, MLB.com, http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20081026&content_id=3646262&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb, retrieved 2009-04-10 
  12. Template:Citation/make link, Our Sports Central, April 6, 2009, http://www.oursportscentral.com/services/releases/?id=3800878, retrieved 2009-04-10 
  13. Schwarz, Alan (June 13, 2009), Template:Citation/make link, New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/14/sports/baseball/14pitcher.html?_r=3&ei=&hp=&ex=&partner=&pagewanted=all, retrieved 2009-06-16 
  14. [1]
  15. Schwarz, Alan (April 6 2007), Template:Citation/make link, New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/06/sports/baseball/06pitcher.html?ex=1333512000&en=a34837d6efb38b04&ei=5124&partner=digg&exprod=digg 
  16. Abraham, Peter (2008), Template:Citation/make link, LoHud Yankees Blog, http://yankees.lhblogs.com/2008/07/03/the-switch-pitcher-rule-change/, retrieved 2008-07-03 

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