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Former Woodchuck Switch-Pitcher Pat Venditte Debuts with the Athletics

 

Venditte is the 129th former Northwoods League player to debut in MLB

Rochester, Minn. – Former Wisconsin Woodchucks Pitcher, Pat Venditte made his Major League debut for the Oakland Athletics on Friday, June 5, 2015. Venditte is the 129th former Northwoods League player to reach the Major League level.

Venditte, who played collegiately at Creighton University, played for the Wisconsin Woodchucks in 2007. Venditte was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 20th round of the 2008 MLB draft.

Venditte is a switch-pitcher and regularly pitches with both his right and left arm during the game and switches depending on the batter.

Ben Hill of MLB.com wrote:

While with the Staten Island Yankees, the Yankees Single-A affiliate, when he opposed switch hitter Ralph Henriquez, Venditte switched his modified glove to his left arm. (Hitters traditionally derive advantages from batting from the opposite side of the plate to the pitcher's throwing arm.) Henriquez then switched to batting left-handed, and a series of changes continued for several minutes. This prompted the PBUC (Professional Baseball Umpires Corporation) to issue rules about switch-pitching: switch-pitchers must choose which way they will begin pitching before they start. Then, batters will select with which hand they will bat. The batter and the pitcher are each allowed one switch during the plate appearance, after the first pitch is thrown.

The last time a pitcher threw with both arms in a major league game was on Sept. 28, 1995, when Greg Harris did it with the Montreal Expos. Harris was the only pitcher in the modern era to do that. Four 19th-century pitchers are known to have thrown with both hands: Tony Mullane in 1882 and in 1893, Elton Chamberlain in 1888, Larry Corcoran in 1884, and George Wheeler.

In 2007 with the Woodchucks, Venditte went 4-1 with a 1.76 ERA. He also struck out 39 batters in 41 innings while only issuing seven walks.

Venditte spent eight seasons in the Minor Leagues amassing a record of 18-22 with a 2.37 ERA while striking out 464 batters in 417.2 innings pitched. He also saved 52 games. Following the 2014 season Venditte became a free agent and was signed by the Oakland Athletics.

In his Major League debut, versus the Boston Red Sox, Venditte entered the game in the 7th inning in relief of Eric O’Flaherty. He pitched two innings allowing one hit and striking out one. He threw 18 of his 28 pitches for strikes.

Follow this link for footage of his debut from Tim Burke at Deadspin.com: Pat Venditte Debut

 

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The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. The 21 year old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 120 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Lucas Duda (NYM) and Ben Zobrist (OAK). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. For more information, visit www.northwoodsleague.com.