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Switch pitcher

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In baseball, a switch-pitcher is an ambidextrous pitcher who is able to pitch with both the right and left hand from the pitcher's mound.

Three 19th-century pitchers are known to have thrown with both hands: Tony Mullane in 1882 and again in 1893, Elton Chamberlain in 1888, and Larry Corcoran in 1884. Greg A. Harris is the only major league pitcher in the modern era to pitch with both his left and his right arm. A natural righty, by 1986 he could throw well enough with his left hand that he felt capable of pitching with either hand in a game. Harris was not allowed to throw lefty in a regular-season game until September 28, 1995, the next-to-last game of his career. Against the Cincinnati Reds in the ninth inning, Harris (then a member of the Montreal Expos) retired Reggie Sanders pitching right-handed, then switched to his left hand for the next two hitters, Hal Morris and Ed Taubensee, who both batted left-handed. Harris walked Morris but got Taubensee to ground out. He then went back to his right hand to retire Bret Boone to end the inning Template:Harv.

One Division I NCAA pitcher, Pat Venditte of the Creighton Bluejays, regularly pitches with both arms Template:Harv. Venditte was drafted by the New York Yankees, and now plays for the minor league Charleston RiverDogs. When he opposed switch hitter Ralph Henriquez, Venditte switched his modified glove to his left arm. (Hitters traditionally derive advantages from batting from the opposite side of the plate to the pitcher's throwing arm.) Henriquez switched to batting left-handed, and a series of changes continued for several minutes. This prompted the Professional Baseball Umpire Corporation to issue rules about switch-pitching: switch-pitchers must choose which way they will begin pitching before they start. Then, batters will select with which hand they will bat. Each are allowed one switch during the plate appearance, after the first pitch is thrown Template:Harv.

Additionally, in 2003, the Atlanta Braves also drafted a switch pitcher by the name of Brandon Berdoll out of Temple (Texas) Junior College in the 27th round. He never made it to the major leagues.

In the collegiate ranks, there was also Matt Brunnig (Harvard class of '06) who was able to pitch over 85mph on either side, but never pitched with both arms in the same game. As a starter he would pitch every game conventionally with one side, and save the other arm for another start, thus allowing him to be 2 starters in one.

Switch-throwers are commonly taught to switch-throw at a young age. For instance, Venditte's father trained him vigorously in ambidextrous throwing since the age of three Template:Harv.


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