Big Apple Combo

Pat Venditte

The phrase dual-threat has various meanings in the world of sports. New York Yankees pitcher Pat Venditte is adding a new twist to the term.

Venditte caught the eyes of the baseball world while playing at Creighton. Of course that will happen if you’re a pitcher who’s ambidextrous. That’s right, Venditte is the one-of-a-kind pitcher that’s able to throw as a lefty and a righty.

He put up nice numbers pitching for Creighton as a “switch-pitcher.” In 2007, Venditte held hitters to a .185 average, which was 4th best in the nation. At one point during season, he had a streak of 43 scoreless innings. Venditte followed that with a solid 2008 campaign, finishing 9-3 with a 3.34 ERA and seven saves.

After being drafted by the Bronx Bombers, a new rule was created especially for him. Venditte must signal to the umpire and hitter which arm he intends to bring it with during that at-bat. Another interesting fact, players are in awe when they look at his six-fingered Mizuno glove.

Make no mistake, Venditte is more than just a side show. He has good stuff coming from both sides of the mound. As a righty he delivers over the top with his fastball, clocking in around 87 mph, and adds a curve to the mix.  Venditte’s throws side-armed as a lefty, where his fastball may be a little slower but he mixes in a nice slider.

On Tuesday, Venditte made his first appearance against a big league team. Facing the Atlanta Braves, he gave up one run and two hits in one and a third innings. He made the switch from righty to lefty when needed during the outing. Despite the showing he’s likely ticketed to Trenton, the Yankees Double-A affiliate.

If Venditte continues to develop, it’s hard to believe the brass would not take advantage of a pitcher that can throw from both sides. Strategy-wise, it keeps from having to burn through your bullpen with all the righty-lefty match-ups.

The game of baseball may soon be making way for the new “switch-pitcher.” A talented player with a righty-lefty combination that many have never seen before.

Only in New York.

Written by C. James

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