So far, the Oakland A’s new relief pitcher Pat Venditte, who can quite amazingly throw effectively either as a right-hander or a left-hander, “has been great” according to Manager Bob Melvin. Making his debut less than two weeks ago, in his first five and 2/3rds innings of work in four games he gave up just one hit, two walks, and no earned runs. That is a good record! The A’s have been careful about protecting a sore shoulder, and put Venditte briefly on the disabled list earlier this week.
But even opposing teams, let alone baseball fans, are eager to see Venditte in action. “He can pitch underwater!” Angels catcher Chris Iannetta recently joked to reporters. “It’s definitely hard enough to pitch in the major leagues with one arm. It’s pretty impressive to do it with both.” Under new rules established specifically for him, Venditte must declare which arm he is going to throw with before an at-bat. But if a team brings in a pinch-hitter, Venditte can switch arms because a new hitter has entered the game. The idea of a switch-arm pitcher facing a switch pinch-hitter is mind boggling from a baseball strategy perspective but it is really going to make watching the Oakland A’s in later innings when the relief pitchers are called in a very interesting time for baseball fans!