It is not very often that a pitcher who can throw with both arms comes around. Luckily, the Yankees have this player in their system. He is Pat Venditte, and he could possibly impact the major league club at some point this season.
Venditte has been in the Yankees’ system since they drafted him in the 45th round of the 2007 draft. Since then, he has spent time at nearly every level in the minor leagues. Better yet, he has had success pitching at every level. Venditte spent the 2012 season with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, pitching in seven games and putting up some good numbers. Unfortunately, he suffered a torn labrum early on – thus ending his season.
The scouting report on Venditte tells us that he uses both of his arms differently. With his right arm, he throws over-the-top and has a fastball that can hit 94 mph. He can also throw a slider and a curveball. With his left arm, Venditte throws in a side-arm motion and can throw a fastball that tops out at 85 mph, and a slider.
One thing that worries a lot of people is Venditte’s age as he is currently 27 years old. But hey, age is just a number, right? As long as Venditte is able to prove that he can hold his own as a big-league pitcher, he should be given a chance.
Venditte is so unique, that the PBUC – the Professional Umpire Baseball Corporation - had to create a new rule for him. This rule states that before each new batter, Venditte must signal which arm he is going to pitch with.
Many people are quick to dismiss him off as a novelty act. However, he is not the first “switch pitcher” to ever play the game. There was a pitcher by the name of Greg Harris who pitched in the major leagues from 1981 to 1995 — playing for nine different teams over the course of his career. He possessed the ability to pitch with both arms. Unfortunately, Harris was never allowed to throw with both arms until one of his last games ever.
Getting back on topic, is there a possibility that we see Pat Venditte play with the Yankees at some point this season?
Well right off the bat, Venditte would have to rebound from his injury. A torn labrum is a pretty big deal, and a full recovery can take a while. Therefore, do not expect to see Venditte during Spring Training.
He would obviously then have to play well. Luckily — as I mentioned before — Venditte has had success on all minor league levels. He has a career line of 14-12 with a 2.30 ERA in the minors. He does not give up many home runs, and does strike out a lot of batters. I had the opportunity to see him pitch in Trenton a few years ago, and he definitely has some excellent control on his pitches. One thing that can be worrisome is the amount of hits that he gives up. As it stands now, he gives up around a hit per inning. Obviously he would need to work on that if he wants to be called up at some point.
So is it likely that we see the enigma known as Pat Venditte with the Yankees this year? I wouldn’t bet on it. However the season is long and injuries do occur. If somebody in the Yankee bullpen goes down, Venditte might be in a prime position to be called up.