Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Yankees' Pat Venditte can pitch right- and left-handed

TAMPA — As a right-hander, Pat Venditte can throw a fastball more than 90 mph.

As a left-hander, Pat Venditte can throw a changeup and slider from an assortment of angles.



All from the same pitcher.

Venditte, a reliever recently promoted to the New York Yankees' Florida State League affiliate, is the only ambidextrous pitcher in pro baseball.

"Having a guy who can throw with both arms is not something you see every day," Tampa Yankees manager Luis Sojo said. "It definitely gives him a little edge."

Venditte's unique ability has had people scrambling for the record books and rule books.

He is the first "switch-pitcher" to appear in a pro game since Greg Harris of the Expos in his final season in 1995, and that was considered more of a stunt. Three pitched both ways during the late 1880s.

Venditte, 24, forced the Professional Baseball Umpire Corp. to create a rule for ambidextrous pitchers when he squared off with a switch-hitter in a bizarre cat-and-mouse sequence on June 19, 2008, that became a YouTube sensation.

Venditte, pitching for short-season Class A Staten Island, kept switching glove hands. (A custom-made glove allows him to wear it on his left or right hand.) And Brooklyn's Ralph Henriquez kept switching sides of the plate to create the more favorable matchup. (Eventually, both went righty, and Henriquez struck out to end the game.)

Now the pitcher must declare which arm he will use before an at-bat.

"I don't think people look at me in awe or anything like that," Venditte said. "The only instance that really stands out is that game … last year."

At age 3 growing up in Omaha, Neb., Venditte's father, Pat Sr., started teaching his son to throw right- and left-handed. Soon after, Venditte could write and eat both ways. To develop proper footwork, Venditte's dad had him learn how to punt and kick a football both ways.

"Pat started off throwing from the right side," his father said. "Then I thought why not have him throw from the left side, too. There really was no difference. …

"The main thing after that was repetition. He was homeschooled, and it just became a natural part of growing up. He wasn't ridiculed by other kids or dissuaded. There was no one to contradict what he was doing. He just kept pushing forward."

Venditte isn't just an oddity. As a junior at Creighton in 2007, he pitched 422/3 consecutive scoreless innings and finished 8-2 with a 1.88 ERA. His opponents' .185 batting average was fourth-best in the nation.

He was drafted twice by the Yankees, in the 45th round in 2007 and 20th round in 2008.

Venditte had 23 saves in 30 appearances for Staten Island last season. He started this season at Charleston (low Class A) before the promotion to Tampa.

"(Pat) really does his homework and is a hard worker who wants to get better," Sojo said.

Venditte, who usually is called on to face switch-hitters, scours the scouting reports.

"I usually study about three or more switch-hitters from each team and try to determine their weakness facing left-handers or right-handers," Venditte said. "I try to create a righty-righty or lefty-lefty matchup."

Because of his ability to throw both ways, Venditte's arm(s) do not fatigue as quickly as others'. So he, theoretically, can make more appearances. That doesn't help in the minors, where relievers must have two days' rest between appearances. But it could be a bonus in the majors.

"I think he has what it takes," Sojo said. "The big test will be how he responds the rest of the season here and in winter ball. His versatility is something that a lot of teams would love to have."

fast facts

Venditte's pro stats


2009High Class A1-021.803029741.252

2009Low Class A2-2201.47302/324240.212

2008SS Class A1-0230.83322/3131042.117

Tampa Bay Yankees' Pat Venditte can pitch right- and left-handed 08/28/09 [Last modified: Friday, August 28, 2009 10:22pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lightning takes defenseman Cal Foote with top pick in draft

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Former Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote said his son Cal lived in the locker room.

    Cal Foote, second from left, is welcomed to the Lightning by GM Steve Yzerman, far left.
  2. It's Rays' turn to pound Orioles pitching (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG - Ah, the fantastic four.

    The Rays smashed the reeling Orioles 15-5 on Friday, scoring a season-high in runs, to climb four games above .500 for the first time since July 1, 2015.

    Rays third baseman Evan Longoria scores on a triple by Logan Morrison during the first inning against the Orioles.
  3. Lightning journal: Plans set for 25th anniversary season

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — The Lightning revealed some of its plans for its 25th anniversary season Friday, including a ceremony to honor the 2004 Stanley Cup team.

    fit test: Top draft pick Cal Foote puts on his Lightning jersey.
  4. Rays designate catcher Derek Norris for assignment

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — C Derek Norris tied a career-high with three hits in Friday's 15-5 win against the Orioles then was designated for assignment after the game to make room on the 25-man roster for C Wilson Ramos.

    Matt Duffy is expected to resume his baseball activities once the stitches heal.
  5. Lightning picks defenseman Cal Foote


    Cal Foote is the son of former Avs defenseman Adam Foote.