Perez gets advice from fellow switch-pitcher
Indians' 12th-round pick has been in contact with A's reliever Venditte
CLEVELAND -- When A's reliever Pat Venditte made his Major League debut last Friday, he became the first truly ambidextrous switch-pitcher the league had seen since the late 1800s.
The Indians wasted no time grabbing one of their own, drafting Ryan Perez from Judson University in Illinois in the 12th round on Wednesday.
Perhaps it's no surprise that Perez and Venditte have spoken before. In terms of seeking advice from your peers as a switch-pitcher, resources are limited.
After Perez helped his high school team win the state championship as a sophomore, he procured Venditte's phone number from the Yankees scout who signed the Major Leaguer.
"We talked for a couple minutes about the difference between college and the Minors, and what he'd do differently now," Perez said. "The thing he said he would've done differently is he would've started a long-toss program when he was in college, or even before college. He said he would've started long toss earlier. And I'm big into the long-toss program."
"Just whatever it takes to get here, whether that be one arm, two arms, just do the things you have to do every day to never lose sight of that goal," Venditte said recently when asked about Perez.
When Ryan's dad, Juan, first attempted to craft his son into an ambidextrous pitcher, he hadn't yet heard of Venditte, though they quickly became acquainted.
"As I was doing it, I sort of thought I was doing something maybe nobody had really paid attention to," Juan said. "And then, somewhere along the line, at a certain age, someone told me, 'Hey, did you know there's another guy doing that pretty good?' That's when we found out he was in college. From there, we started actually following him."
Perez's unique ability instantly makes him a hot commodity within the Indians' organization, especially given manager Terry Francona's propensity for changing relief pitchers situationally to play the matchups.
"He'll be the only kid in [Class A] ball that's on speed dial," Francona joked.