SYRACUSE It’s unlikely that Pat Venditte ever thought he would be the impetus behind the creation of a baseball rule, but when Rule 8.01 (f) was created, it was because of him. Essentially, the rule states that when an ambidextrous pitcher – yes, that’s right, an ambidextrous pitcher like Pat Venditte – takes the mound he must signify which hand he will use, and he cannot change until that batter has been retired, reaches base, is replaced, or the pitcher becomes injured.
The rule was inspired by a situation where Venditte, then pitching for the Staten island Yankees in 2008, faced a switch hitter and something of a standoff ensued with both pitcher and hitter changing back and forth. Ultimately, the umpires made a ruling (Rule 9.01 (c) allows them to do that) to force the batter to choose a side, and the game proceeded from there. Since then, guidelines were issued by the Professional Baseball Umpire Corporation and ultimately, the MLB rules committee created the current rule.
Venditte, now with the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees, became the first professional ambidextrous pitcher to throw against the Chiefs at ABS (and likely ever) last night, throwing three innings in relief. He threw lefty against lefties and righty against righties, giving up one hit and striking out four in the Chiefs’ 6-5 win.