The A's signed switch-pitcher Pat Venditte to a minor league deal that includes an invitation to spring training, according to his agent Marc Kligman.
Venditte, 29, has never pitched in the big leagues, but has amassed a 17-22 record and 2.46 ERA in 242 appearances over seven minor league seasons after he was drafted by the Yankees in 2008.
"Because I do something different, I wanted to be in a spot where I’m judged on performance, not on how you do it," Venditte told Newsday Sports.
A rare commodity, Venditte can pitch both right- and left-handed and wears an ambidextrous glove that allows him favorable matchups against both right- and left-handed batters.
When a lefty steps to the plate, Venditte wears the glove on his right hand and pitches with his left, taking the opposite approach when a right-handed batter is up.
It made for a classic showdown in 2008 when, as a 23-year-old in his first year of professional baseball playing for the Low-A Staten Island Yankees, he faced switch-hitter Ralph Henriquez:
The confusion led to a lengthy delay and a new rule: Switch-pitchers must establish which arm they will throw with to start the at-bat, alerting the umpire and opposing team. Then, the batter must decide from which side of the plate he will hit.
-After one pitch is thrown, the pitcher and the batter may each change positions one time per at-bat.
-Any switch must be clearly indicated to the umpire.
-No warm-up pitches are allowed during a change of arm.
-In the case of injury, the pitcher may change arms, but not use the injured arm again for the rest of the game.
*Image courtesy AP