The age of ambidextrous hurlers is upon us: Or, Pat Venditte makes his debut
Called up before Friday's game against the Red Sox, the Athletics spent little time before calling upon their secret weapon: the ambidextrous Pat Venditte. In a world where bullpens are growing ever larger and pitcher specialization has become the norm, Venditte is the Swiss army knife of pitchers, able to tear down the platoon advantage in every situation.
Of course, as an obvious mutant, there are some who worry that Senator Kelly will consider him a threat to those human beings that can only throw with one hand.
With the Athletics trailing the Red Sox, 4-2, Venditte was summoned from the bullpen, looking like some kind of one-man hydra, where every arm chopped off creates a new one.
When the switch-hitting Blake Swihart came to the plate, the two had a brief moment of Venditte-rule-confusion filled with existential questions like "Which side of the plate should I bat on? Who am I? Why am I here? And where are my keys?"
Once on the mound, Venditte shut the Red Sox down with less-than-blazing stuff. Though his cutter topped out at 88 mph, Venditte relied on location and the oddity of tossing from both sides of the plate. Just look at his PitchFX release point chart. It's a piece of modern art, describing the ennui modern man feels as he is disconnected from the natural world ... or something.
Pitching to righties, Venditte threw only his cutter and his changeup, his speeds varying between the mid-to-upper 80s and the low-70s. The lone hit he gave up to Hanley Ramirez was an 0-1 changeup.
Against lefties, the switch-pitcher relied primarily on his changeup and slider, tossing in only one curve and cutter along the way.
Though the Red Sox batters made an awful lot of contact, Venditte showed that his 2.37 career Minor League ERA was no fluke. While it remains to be seen how successful the pitcher can be at the Major League level with Mark Buehrle-type velocity, we'll be enjoying the ride.