Everyone meet Pat Venditte, ambidextrous relief pitcher for the Oakland Athletics. That wasn’t a typo .. he pitches lefty and righty — depending on which side of the plate the hitter is standing on.
Let me explain: in the bottom of the 7th inning at Fenway Park last night — he entered the game to face Brock Holt, a Red Sox outfielder who bats lefty. So, as you can imagine: he pitched as a southpaw.
Then, after he retired Brock, Hanley Ramirez stepped in — Boston’s power-hitting righty. Venditte quickly switched his special “made for both hands” glove, to fit his left hand, and pitched to Hanley as a right-hander
Here it is, animated:
This is friggin’ ridiculous. I don’t even know how to comprehend it — not only because I’ve never seen it in my lifetime, but, the fact that he’s able to pitch at a major-league level from both sides of the plate is a hall-of-fame worthy achievement in itself. Think about it: Pat had to make the majors TWICE — once as a lefty relief pitcher, once as a right-handed relief pitcher. He had been in the minors since 2008, before last night … and while many think this was just another instance of Billy Beane making a mockery of every baseball scout in America/showing off his superior ability to evaluate, grow, and showcase talent he single-handily brings up through his minor-league system, this is not one of those times.—-
“There’s a little bit of a sideshow to it for good reason,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said before the game. “But the reason he’s here is because he’s performed.”—-
What Melvin is referring to in that quote is the “freak-show” mantra that follows Venditte to every single ballpark he pitches at. You can’t help but stare at him, be mesmerized, and ask the fan sitting next to you: “Wait a minute, wasn’t he just pitching lefty?” whenever he’s in the game.
Truth is: Beanie brought up Venditte to the majors because the dude can flat out pitch.
Per ESPN: “In 17 outings (16 in relief) this season in the minor leagues, Venditte was 1-0 with a 1.36 ERA and held opponents to a .167 batting average. In eight minor league seasons, the first seven in the New York Yankees’ organization, he had a 2.37 ERA with 52 saves and nine starts.”
Those are not stats to scoff at.
What’s funny is the last time a pitcher threw with both hands in a major league game was Sept. 28, 1995, when Greg Harris did it with the Montreal Expos. Per the same ESPN article: “It was the next-to-last game of a career in which he appeared in 703, and he is the only pitcher in the modern era to do that. In an interesting coincidence, Harris also pitched parts of six seasons (1989-94) with the Red Sox, but the general manager at the time, Lou Gorman, refused to let him throw with both hands, saying he would make “a mockery of the game.””
Only appropriate that Billy Beane, Troll God, would let Venditte make his major league debut in the ballpark that once called his kind “a mockery of the game.”
Long story short: Billy Beane is gonna Billy Beane, and there is nothing you can do to stop it….