Pat Venditte headed to Trenton
The Trentonian has learned that professional baseball’s only switch-pitcher, Pat Venditte, has been promoted to the Thunder. The move was confirmed with Mark Newman, the Yankees Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations.
Venditte and another reliever — most likely righty Jonathan Ortiz — are expected to be at Waterfront Park today to replace fellow relievers George Kontos and John Van Benschoten, who were summoned to Triple-A Scranton.
The 25-year-old Venditte has garnered national attention for his unique ability to throw from both his left and right sides, and despite not being considered a prospect in most circles, he’s posted a sporty 4-1 record with a 1.63 ERA and six saves in 40 appearances with High-A Tampa.
Highlights of Venditte’s 2008 professional debut in Brooklyn, while he was a member of the Staten Island Yankees, appeared on Sportscenter and other nationally televised programs. The game was delayed for seven minutes when the Cyclones Ralph Henriquez kept switching sides in the batters box depending on which arm Venditte was going to be throwing with.
This incident led to the Professional Baseball Umpire Corporation to create a new rule, usually referred to as “The Pat Vendite Rule.” 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.
Venditte and possibly Ortiz are being brought up to shore up a bullpen that been in flux for most of the year. Losing Kontos and Van Benschoten certainly won’t help matters. Kontos, in a return from Tommy John surgery, posted an 0-2 record with a 3.38 ERA in 17 appearances this season.
The Northwestern alum starred for the Thunder in 2008 and early on in 2009 as a starter, but was converted to a reliever after injuring his elbow while pitching with Scranton last year.