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Sunday, March 01, 2015

ESPN: Switch-Pitcher Venditte The Talk Of A’s Camp

But in the early stages of camp, no Oakland pitcher has elicited more chatter than a 29-year-old career minor leaguer with a novel gift. Pat Venditte, who signed with the New York Yankees as a 20th-round draft pick out of Creighton in 2008, has a 2.46 ERA and 431 strikeouts in 384 2/3 innings over seven minor league seasons. But his new teammates are far more impressed with his ability to pitch with both hands.

“For the first few days, he was the talk of camp,’’ Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “Guys would stick around and take notice and watch him throw in the pen to see if we’re just talking about a gimmick here or somebody that can really pull it off. They walk away just shaking their heads. It’s tough enough to do it from one side—especially at this level.’’
.  .  .
Venditte throws a fastball, slider and changeup from both sides and uses an ambidextrous glove with two thumb holes. As his fellow A’s get to know him, it’s only natural that they flash back through their professional careers and think of other ambidextrous teammates they’ve encountered.

Melvin recalls how Ariel Prieto, a former Oakland pitcher and coach, threw batting practice with both hands. When A’s pitcher Scott Kazmir was in Cleveland, teammate Carlos Carrasco threw his fastball in the mid-90s from the right side and reached the mid-80s just goofing around from the left. And reliever Tyler Clippard, who came to Oakland by trade from Washington in January, recalls how former Nationals bullpen-mate Sean Burnett would heave balls back to the infield right-handed during shagging to save his left arm for the games.
.  .  .
When Venditte was looking at potential landing spots as a minor league free agent over the winter, Oakland ranked high on the list because the A’s are a creative, free-thinking organization that might give him a legitimate shot rather than view him as a novelty act. It appears he’s come to the right place.

Give the [no longer a] kid a chance.


 

 

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