ANAHEIM –- An MRI showed that A’s reliever Pat Venditte has some minor damage in his right shoulder, though the ambidextrous pitcher is hoping he won’t be sidelined for a significant period.
Venditte said he’s got some fraying in his labrum, an area that he had surgery on in 2012 that caused him to miss a full year.
“It’s not a complete tear,” Venditte said before Friday’s game against the Angels. “It’s right on the area where I had surgery before. It’s small, so they’re thinking with a little bit of rest, it’s something that can be managed.”
Still, it’s a disappointing setback for the 29-year-old Venditte, who finally made his major league debut last week after seven-plus seasons spent in the minors. He has been a shot in the arm for Oakland’s relief corps, throwing 5 2/3 scoreless innings spread over four outings.
Venditte’s debut on June 5 made national news, as he became the first full-time “switch pitcher” to throw pitches with both arms in a major league game during the modern era. Oddly enough, Venditte said he first felt discomfort in his right shoulder Wednesday night while throwing a pitch left-handed. He was able to gut it out through 2 1/3 scoreless innings, but when he tried playing catch before Thursday afternoon’s game, he knew he wouldn’t be able to pitch.
“I pulled my glove in (during a pitch Wednesday night), and I felt something in the back of my right shoulder,” he said. “… It bothered me, but it wasn’t to the point where I was going to come out of the game. Especially with the opportunity I’ve been given. It took me so long to get to this point. The last thing you want to do is say something.”
The plan is for Venditte to stay away from throwing for a week or so and then re-evaluate. The pitcher is hopeful he won't be sidelined much past the minimum 15 days.
But A’s manager Bob Melvin said the team will be cautious with Venditte given he’s had a problem in the area before. Venditte had surgery to repair his right labrum in June 2012 and didn’t return to pitching in the Yankees’ minor league system until the following summer. But Venditte did pitch for Team Italy in the World Baseball Classic in March 2013 – pitching strictly as a left-hander.
Serving strictly as a lefty reliever through this injury was never discussed, both Venditte and manager Bob Melvin said.
“With the constant pulling (when throwing left-handed), it’s tough for anything to heal,” Venditte said. “And my best chance of helping this team is as a switch pitcher.”
The A’s signed outfielder Dayan Viciedo to a minor league contract Friday, and Viciedo was scheduled to report to Triple-A Nashville. The A’s looked into signing Viciedo back in spring training, after he was released by the White Sox in February. Toronto wound up singing him, but Viciedo was granted his release in late March and hasn’t played since.
He’s still young at age 26, and the right-handed hitter is a .291 career hitter against lefties, compared to .240 vs. righties.
“Any time you’re able to get a quality guy like that with some power … he’s hit left-handed pitching well,” Melvin said. “We had talked about him this spring. So anytime you can increase the depth, with a guy with a track record and a power bat in the big leagues, it’s nice to have him in our organization.”
The A's announced that they've signed 18 of their draft picks, including second-round shortstop Mikey White.