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Friday, June 20, 2008

Switch Pitcher versus Switch Hitter (Video)

The New York Yankees organization selected in the recent amateur draft switch pitcher Pat Venditte and signed him shortly afterwards. He was assigned to the Staten Island Yankees of the New York Penn League. Yesterday he made his season debut in a game versus the New York Mets affiliate Brooklyn Cyclones. Their coaching staff tried to counter with a switch hitter and the sequenz of the clip followed.

Thanks to Big Daddy Forman

Repoz Posted: June 20, 2008 at 03:41 PM | 57 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: minor leagues

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   1. Randy Jones Posted: June 20, 2008 at 03:48 PM (#2826960)
I watched this earlier this morning, it is pretty damn funny.
   2. Eric J. Seidman Posted: June 20, 2008 at 03:48 PM (#2826961)
Here's the video of the LIVE feed from SNY of this clip.

http://www.redlasso.com/ClipPlayer.aspx?id=2dcfc6b6-a143-4852-b696-10a747fc88ae
   3. Mr2bits Posted: June 20, 2008 at 03:51 PM (#2826966)
I have waited all my life to see a clip like this. But instead of the silly mind games, I'd prefer to see the pitcher alternate sides of the plate between pitches.

Quick rulebook question. I know every pitcher brought in must face at least one batter. Does a similar restriction apply to bringing in pinch hitters?
   4. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: June 20, 2008 at 03:52 PM (#2826968)
That is one the ten coolest things I've ever seen on a baseball field. The batter's reaction after he struck out is perfect!
   5. DCA Posted: June 20, 2008 at 03:59 PM (#2826978)
The secret value of Venditte is that if he blows out his arm, he can just use his other one.
   6. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq., LLC Posted: June 20, 2008 at 03:59 PM (#2826979)
Quick rulebook question. I know every pitcher brought in must face at least one batter. Does a similar restriction apply to bringing in pinch hitters?
No.

As for this situation, I don't believe there is an actual rule that pertains to it (yet). I think the closest thing is that the batter is out if he switches sides after the pitcher has come set, but Venditte hadn't come set when the batter changed.

I assume there will be a rule addressing this at the end of the season.
   7. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: June 20, 2008 at 04:06 PM (#2826985)
what round was he drafted in? i'd love to see him make the majors.
   8. JoeHova Posted: June 20, 2008 at 04:07 PM (#2826990)
The Yankees really wanted this guy (taking him 2 years in a row) and I commend them for that. The chances of him making MLB may be small, but if he does, the payoff could be huge.
   9. Shredder Posted: June 20, 2008 at 04:11 PM (#2827000)
In the youtube video at the link, it says he throws upper 80s from the right side, and upper 70s/lower 80s from the left side. He may not have good enough stuff from either side to make the majors, but his breaking balls look pretty good.

Baseball Reference says Greg Harris alternated arms in one game. I've gotta think he's the only switch pitcher MLB has ever seen.
As for this situation, I don't believe there is an actual rule that pertains to it (yet).
According to this link, the accuracy off which I can't vouch for, there's a rule that says a pitcher can't switch arms in the same at bat. If that's true, presumably a batter could start as a righty, switch to lefty after one pitch, and stay on that side for the remainder of the at bat.
   10. philevans3154 Posted: June 20, 2008 at 04:11 PM (#2827003)
The Red Sox had a reliever who could pitch left and right-handed, although I don't know if they let him in a game. He had a special glove he could wear on either hand. Can't for the life of me remember his name. It was in the late eighties/early nineties, I believe.
   11. Boileryard Posted: June 20, 2008 at 04:12 PM (#2827006)
As for this situation, I don't believe there is an actual rule that pertains to it (yet). I think the closest thing is that the batter is out if he switches sides after the pitcher has come set, but Venditte hadn't come set when the batter changed.

So should Larry Walker have been called out in the 1997 All-Star Game when he switched sides against Randy Johnson in the middle of his at-bat?

The ump would've never called Walker out in a million years even if he should have in a real game, but it's something I've often wondered about over the past decade.
   12. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: June 20, 2008 at 04:13 PM (#2827007)
From when Greg Harris contemplated becoming a switch pitcher, I thought that the batter had to declare which side he would hit from and the pitcher could switch. Maybe I am remembering the 'pitcher set' rule.
   13. Hal Chase Headley Lamarr Hoyt Wilhelm (ACE1242) Posted: June 20, 2008 at 04:13 PM (#2827009)
Greg Harris?
   14. and Posted: June 20, 2008 at 04:14 PM (#2827014)
The secret value of Venditte is that if he blows out his arm, he can just use his other one.

Should we divide his abuse points by 2 then?
   15. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: June 20, 2008 at 04:17 PM (#2827021)
The secret value of Venditte is that if he blows out his arm, he can just use his other one.

Should we divide his abuse points by 2 then?


Dusty Baker just had a shiver go up his spine...
   16. Shredder Posted: June 20, 2008 at 04:18 PM (#2827023)
So should Larry Walker have been called out in the 1997 All-Star Game when he switched sides against Randy Johnson in the middle of his at-bat?
Per the rule Larry mentioned, he'd only be out if he switched after Johnson came set (in the middle of a pitch, I suppose). Presumably a batter could switch back and forth between every pitch if that's the case. Not a bad idea if the bases are loaded and you need a walk to win the game.
   17. Chris Needham Posted: June 20, 2008 at 04:18 PM (#2827024)
I think the rule in the majors is that the pitcher has to declare which side he's going to throw from before the AB.

Harris could throw with both, but I don't think he actually did in a game. Wasn't Mickey Welch another one who was supposedly able to do it?
   18. Boileryard Posted: June 20, 2008 at 04:19 PM (#2827026)
Greg Harris did it once while with the Expos. Walked the first batter he faced left-handed, then got a ground out from the next batter. For his first batter after returning to the right side, the batter fouled a pitch straight back that shattered a window behind home plate.
   19. Chris Dial Posted: June 20, 2008 at 04:22 PM (#2827032)
The rule is that the pitcher has to choose first. The batter can change sides of the plate between (not during) until he has two strikes.
This was a common Little League discussion when I was a kid.
   20. Chris Dial Posted: June 20, 2008 at 04:25 PM (#2827040)
And the umps got it wrong, and it's lame that ESPN doesn't employ someone who knew this.
   21. Chris Needham Posted: June 20, 2008 at 04:25 PM (#2827043)
Ah, it's Tony Mullane that I was thinking of, not Mickey Welch. 0-2 on that post!
   22. Toolsy McClutch Posted: June 20, 2008 at 04:29 PM (#2827049)
And the umps got it wrong, and it's lame that ESPN doesn't employ someone who knew this.


Cause it comes up so frequently? Damn ESPN, failing to edumacate!
   23. Danny Posted: June 20, 2008 at 04:32 PM (#2827057)
He should know the rules by now, since he already tried this dance in college.

A switch-pitcher facing a switch-hitter could make a fine Abbott and Costello routine. Against Nebraska last year, a switch-hitter came to the plate right-handed, prompting Venditte to switch to his right arm, which caused the batter to move to the left-hand batter’s box, with Venditte switching his arm again. Umpires ultimately restored order, applying the rule (the same as that in the majors) that a pitcher must declare which arm he will use before throwing his first pitch and cannot change before the at-bat ends.

“Eventually, after 10 or 15 minutes, they got it figured out,” Venditte said with a smile.
   24. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: June 20, 2008 at 04:39 PM (#2827068)
Hadn't the umpires heard of this guy? It seems they should have been prepared. Obviously, I am very glad they weren't.
   25. and Posted: June 20, 2008 at 04:42 PM (#2827075)
I had a coach tell me once that I may as well pitch left handed. Does that count?
   26. J.C. Bradbury Posted: June 20, 2008 at 04:47 PM (#2827084)
From NAPBL Umpire Manual, p.66:

Rule 6.14 Ambidextrous Pitchers

In the rare occasion of an ambidextrous pitcher, the pitcher and batter may each change positions one time per at-bat. For example, if the pitcher changes from right-handed to left-handed and the batter changes batter's boxes, each player must remain that way for the duration of that at-bat (unless the offensive team substitutes a pinch hitter, and then each player may "switch" again one time).


Emphasis original.
   27. slothinator Posted: June 20, 2008 at 04:50 PM (#2827086)
Greg Harris?


This was the guy. Funny story I once read about him in SI in an interview with Andy Van Slyke:

Spring training, 1990 or 1991 I believe. Harris comes in to pitch (with his crazy double handed glove) for the Phillies, Randy Ready is playing 1B, and Van Slyke is the runner on 1st.

Van Slyke: "What's up with that glove."

Ready: "He's amphibious."

Van Slyke: "You mean he can pitch underwater?"
   28. Chris Dial Posted: June 20, 2008 at 05:07 PM (#2827104)
Cause it comes up so frequently? Damn ESPN, failing to edumacate!
It's an odd rule. After it comes up once, you should remember it. And it came up many times before. They should have fact-checkers *anyway*.
   29. Chris Dial Posted: June 20, 2008 at 05:08 PM (#2827106)
From NAPBL Umpire Manual, p.66:
What's NAPBL? North American Professional Baseball Leagues?
   30. flournoy Posted: June 20, 2008 at 05:14 PM (#2827114)
I do remember being very confused as a kid when I got a baseball card of Harris (1991 Score, I think) that depicted him throwing left handed, even though his other cards that I had showed him throwing right handed. (And the other Greg Harris was a right hander too.)
   31. Greg Pope Posted: June 20, 2008 at 05:15 PM (#2827115)
It's an odd rule. After it comes up once, you should remember it. And it came up many times before. They should have fact-checkers *anyway*.

Right. The only time I heard it was when Greg Harris pitched, and I still remember it. I'm not even employed by any baseball organization at all.
   32. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: June 20, 2008 at 05:17 PM (#2827117)
What's NAPBL? North American Professional Baseball Leagues?

The National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues. You were close!
   33. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: June 20, 2008 at 05:20 PM (#2827120)
What's NAPBL? North American Professional Baseball Leagues?


National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, the former name of Minor League Baseball.
   34. whoisalhedges Posted: June 20, 2008 at 05:23 PM (#2827124)
NAPBL

Let's leave those perverts out of our baseball discussion, please.
   35. Fridas Boss Posted: June 20, 2008 at 05:41 PM (#2827144)
So, NAPBL rules differ from MLB rules in this case? Dial and JCB present different takes. I cant find a cite in the MLB rules on their website, where can we get an MLB cite?
   36. SoSH U at work Posted: June 20, 2008 at 05:53 PM (#2827151)
The rule is that the pitcher has to choose first. The batter can change sides of the plate between (not during) until he has two strikes.


Chris, where is this two-strike distinction codified? I've occasionally heard the stipulation, but I can't find it anywhere.
   37. Chris Dial Posted: June 20, 2008 at 06:00 PM (#2827154)
Chris, where is this two-strike distinction codified? I've occasionally heard the stipulation, but I can't find it anywhere.
Not sure - I'll have to check. But that was the early 1970s. The NAPBL manual may have changed it.
   38. T.J. Posted: June 20, 2008 at 06:21 PM (#2827191)
Let's leave those perverts out of our baseball discussion, please.


"National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, or NAMBLA, for short."

[/Jon Stewart]
   39. Harris Posted: June 20, 2008 at 06:42 PM (#2827234)
The EA Sports baseball game I have supports the 2-strike rule. You could change sides of the plate until you got your second strike.

It's in the game.
   40. Exploring Leftist Conservatism since 2008 (ark..) Posted: June 20, 2008 at 07:34 PM (#2827395)
It should be done like odd/even fingers before each pitch. The uncertainty, the mind games, the mounting tension. Any rule that limits the possiblities just plain sucks.
   41. nick swisher hygiene Posted: June 20, 2008 at 07:41 PM (#2827414)
Any rule that limits the possiblities just plain sucks.


what about this? make em both choose simultaneously; basically, like a version of rock/scissors/paper before each at bat....
   42. Chris Dial Posted: June 20, 2008 at 07:43 PM (#2827417)
Rule 6.06 (b) says he just can't switch after the pitcher is set. I think that means he can switch all he wants.
   43. willcarrolldoesnotsuk Posted: June 20, 2008 at 11:05 PM (#2827708)
Rule 6.14 Ambidextrous Pitchers

In the rare occasion of an ambidextrous pitcher, the pitcher and batter may each change positions one time per at-bat. For example, if the pitcher changes from right-handed to left-handed and the batter changes batter's boxes, each player must remain that way for the duration of that at-bat (unless the offensive team substitutes a pinch hitter, and then each player may "switch" again one time).
Is there a rule that you have to use your glove?

Because if not, this rule seems to be essentially advantage pitcher. Just hang your glove from your belt, stand in the windup with both feet on the rubber and the ball grasped in both hands in front of you.

When the batter steps into a box, disengage the rubber, put your glove on, and get back into stance, to pitch from the advantageous side. This is not a "change", because you cannot be proven not to have originally intended to pitch from that side.

Now the batter changes sides to counter you. That's his one change.

You change to counter him. That's your one change.

Neither of you can change any more, and you are the one who made the final (advantageous) move.
   44. jyjjy Posted: June 20, 2008 at 11:41 PM (#2827717)
Today from Abrahms on the Lohud Yankees blog;

UPDATE, 6:05 p.m.: As promised, I went to speak to the umpires today about Pat Venditte. Crew chief Charlie Reliford invited me into their locker room. Get this: There is no major-league rule regarding a pitcher like Venditte.

“The only rule is what when a pitcher is on the rubber, a batter cannot change boxes,” Reliford said. “But there is no penalty for switching, you just tell him he can’t do it.”

The MLB Rules Committee (which meets infequently) will have to address the situation and decide what Venditte can and can’t do. Reliford believes that ultimately Venditte would have to stick with one arm once an at-bat starts. But what if the batter switches sides during the at-bat. “Good question,” he said. “That’s something that will have to be decided.”

Reliford said that each minor league uses the Major League rules but can modify them as needed. “That’s what the kid’s league will have to do now,” he said. “It’s a very interesting thing.”

The umpires get a bad rap sometimes but Reliford was very gracious with his time.
   45. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: June 21, 2008 at 12:04 AM (#2827725)
Is there a rule that you have to use your glove?

I don't think so, but there is a rule that you can't use a mitt at any position other than C or 1B.

Because if not, this rule seems to be essentially advantage pitcher.

I'm pretty sure that it's actually advantage hitter. The pitcher has to declare at the start of the at-bat. If he doesn't put his glove on, the umpire would have to ask him which arm he's going to use. If he's in the stretch, you can tell which arm he's using whether he's got a glove on or not.

There may not be a specific MLB rule addressing this, but the way it's worked in Maryland and Virginia high school games where it's come up recently is basically that it's just like making a pitching change. If you bring in a LHP to face a lefty hitter, the batting team can pinch hit for him (even if he is a pinch hitter and hasn't batted yet) but the pitcher has to stay in the game to face at least one hitter. The offense is always entitled to the platoon advantage if they want it.
   46. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: June 21, 2008 at 12:27 AM (#2827742)
BTW, if this guy ever does get close to the majors, the Yankees should trade him to the Dodgers so we can see if Torre can shred both of his arms.
   47. Greg Pope Posted: June 21, 2008 at 12:45 AM (#2827763)
Is there a rule that you have to use your glove?

Jim Abbott never wore his glove until after he threw the ball. He cradled it in his arm as opposed to hanging it from his belt, but I'm sure that you could come up with something where you could place the glove somewhere in your uniform, then grab it after the pitch.
   48. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: June 21, 2008 at 01:19 AM (#2827804)
   49. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: June 21, 2008 at 01:23 AM (#2827808)
Watch the second video from the link, the introductory video about Venditte at Creighton. It brings up the switch hitter issue, and says that in college the pitcher needs to decide on a hand for the entire at bat, and basically infers that the pitcher chooses first. Venditte says that the coaches have scouting reports on all switch hitters that they face and they make the batter choose to hit from his weaker side.

I would bet that MLB/NAACP enacts a similar rule.
   50. Shredder Posted: June 21, 2008 at 02:17 AM (#2827963)
Jim Abbott never wore his glove until after he threw the ball.
I may be going out on a limb here (no pun intended), but, unlike in willcarrollsux's hypothetical, I'm pretty sure the batter knew which hand Jim Abbot was going to use to throw the ball.
   51. willcarrolldoesnotsuk Posted: June 21, 2008 at 02:31 AM (#2828016)
I'm pretty sure that it's actually advantage hitter. The pitcher has to declare at the start of the at-bat. If he doesn't put his glove on, the umpire would have to ask him which arm he's going to use. If he's in the stretch, you can tell which arm he's using whether he's got a glove on or not.
Well, yes, if the umpire explicitly asks, you're right. But I don't see why the umpire would explicitly ask.

As for your second part - "if he's in the stretch" - you're wrong. The point of my scenario is that he would never be in the stretch until after the batter has stepped in a box. At all moments prior to the batter stepping in a box, his goal would be to act legally while revealing zero information about which arm he's going to pitch with.

As soon as the batter steps in a box, he steps off the rubber, puts his glove on, and goes back to stance. At this point, he would go into the stretch, if desired. Not before.

The point is that the batter has no way to not reveal his intentions, whereas the pitcher can avoid revealing his, while still acting completely legally. And this fundamental imbalance can be used to give the pitcher the upper hand.

Again, though, if the ump orders the guy to reveal his choice of arm before the batter steps in a box, you're right. But I frankly don't see why the ump should or would. There's no rule against standing with two feet on the rubber facing forwards and both your hands grasping the ball in front of you, and it's a theoretically legal position to pitch from - with either arm.

Meanwhile, the batter must step into one and only one box.
   52. Greg Pope Posted: June 21, 2008 at 03:02 AM (#2828082)
I may be going out on a limb here (no pun intended), but, unlike in willcarrollsux's hypothetical, I'm pretty sure the batter knew which hand Jim Abbot was going to use to throw the ball.

That's not my point. My point is that Jim Abbot was certainly not wearing his glove in a normal format. He was holding his glove elsewhere and putting it on after throwing. So the switch-pitcher could do the same thing.
   53. Random Transaction Generator Posted: June 21, 2008 at 03:29 AM (#2828175)
I would bet that MLB/NAACP enacts a similar rule.

He looks like an awfully light-skinned African-American to me...
   54. Shredder Posted: June 21, 2008 at 05:22 AM (#2828269)
That's not my point. My point is that Jim Abbot was certainly not wearing his glove in a normal format.
I know that. I'm just saying the situations aren't really analogous. The batter knew where the ball would be coming from with Abbot, regardless of whether he wore the glove on his belt, his stump, or his head.
   55. willcarrolldoesnotsuk Posted: June 21, 2008 at 05:26 AM (#2828270)
Of course the batter knew where the ball would be coming from with Abbott. But the important part, with respect to our conversation here, is that the reason he knew where the ball would be coming from was not because of a rule that said that he must be made aware of where the ball would be coming from.
   56. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: June 22, 2008 at 01:08 AM (#2828683)
I frankly don't see why the ump should or would.

Maybe because it's the rule? Seriously, I think this entire hypothetical discussion is pretty baseless. Dial had it right back in 19 and 20. Just because the umps don't know the rule doesn't mean that there isn't a rule. Just as with pitching changes that involve actually changing the person pitching instead of merely changing the arm used by the pitcher, the batting team is entitled by rule to the platoon advantage.
   57. willcarrolldoesnotsuk Posted: June 22, 2008 at 06:22 PM (#2828951)
Maybe because it's the rule?
Point it out in the rulebook, please.

I'm not saying there's not such a rule. I'm saying I haven't seen anyone point it out (Dial's posts that you refer to were anecdotal and about Little League), and that none of the rules that I have actually seen anyone in this thread point out indicate that the batter is entitled to know which side the pitch will come from before he decides which box to step into.

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