He isn't quite Pat Venditte, but Yu Darvish is still ambidextrous
When Oakland A's pitcher Pat Venditte was called up to the majors last week, he became the first full-time switch pitcher in MLB history. But he isn't the only ambidextrous pitcher in the majors.
Rangers ace Yu Darvish, a three-time All-Star as a right-handed pitcher, can also throw with his left.
“Darvish throws from the left side during workouts as a way to keep his delivery in balance,” Gerry Fraley of The Dallas Morning News wrote in 2012. “While with Hokkaido Nippon Ham of the Pacific League, Darvish would throw from the left side on the first day after a start.”
Evan Grant of the Morning News explained in 2012 that Darvish “occasionally plays catch left-handed to keep both of his arms strong and, therefore, equally balanced.”
The quirky training trick was also immortalized on a Topps baseball card.
When you see his two throwing motions side by side, it's tough to tell which is his dominant hand.
Darvish is out for this season after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. The day after he was diagnosed with the injury, Darvish was back on the field at spring training with his teammates taking fielding practice left-handed.
A few days later, he was spotted playing catch with a teammate using his left hand.
He also had an opposite-handed distance-throwing contest with lefty teammate Martin Perez, according to Jamey Newberg of Gammons Daily.
Before Venditte, the last MLB pitcher to throw with both hands in the same game was Greg Harris, a righthander who threw lefty to two batters in 1995. Harris had played for the Rangers but they never gave him the opportunity to throw lefty in a game.
Darvish has no problems getting lefties out while throwing right-handed, so he has no reason to spin around and throw with his left. But the option is there if he wants it, as long as he can still throw that devastating splitter.