The Staten Island Advance reports on the professional debut of former Creighton All-American Pat Venditte, the switch-pitching reliever who signed this year with the Yankees as a 20th-round pick, and it was all anyone could have hoped for.
First, the Yankees played well, with short-season Staten Island picking up its first victory of the season. Second, Venditte threw one scoreless inning. And third, and most deliciously, he faced a switch-hitter.
First, Venditte retired a pair of righthanded hitters, pitching righthanded, and gave up a single. Then Brooklyn sent up former second-round pick Ralphie Henriquez, a switch-hitter, and comedy ensued, as the Advance described. (You can see the whole encounter here; hat tip to Creighton sports information contact Rob Anderson.)
Henriquez then declared as a right-handed hitter, with Venditte following suit on the mound. Then Henriquez stepped across the plate and posed as a left-handed batter. Venditte reciprocated by setting up as a left-handed pitcher.
Venditte and Henriquez repeated the procedure several times without a pitch thrown before concluding the vaudeville act only after home plate umpire Shaylor Smith called timeout and both managers hurried out of their dugouts demanding an explanation.
"He switched then I switched," said Venditte, a recent 20th-round draft pick out of Creighton. "I didn’t want to create a scene, I wanted to establish the rule and then get batters out."
Both pitcher and batter were commanded to compete right-handed, their original postures, and Venditte struck out Henriquez swinging to end the game.
"We’re trying to set the rules for the season," said Staten Island manager Pat McMahon. "The umpire did a great job declaring it. That’s how it’s supposed to be done."
Venditte wasn’t just a novelty act in college; he was a weapon, going 21-8, 2.69 in his last three seasons with 13 saves. He was a third-team All-American for Creighton in 2007, when he had a 43-inning scoreless streak and posted a 1.88 ERA. He struck out 200 and walked just 43, and he was durable, with 75.
So he’s a prospect, just not a conventional one.
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