Report: A's invite switch pitcher Pat Venditte to spring training

Thursday November 20th, 2014

The Oakland Athletics signed ambidextrous pitcher Pat Venditte to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, Venditte told Newsday.

The only switch pitcher currently playing professional baseball, Venditte was selected in the 20th round of the 2008 MLB draft by the New York Yankees and spent the last seasons in the Yankees' organization.

Venditte reached Triple A for the first time this season. In 78.1 innings between Double A Trenton and Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Venditte recorded a 2.64 ERA and had 83 strikeouts.

A free agent for the first time this offseason, Venditte told Newsday he wanted to sign with a team that would invite him to spring training and was attracted to the A's because of their propensity for taking chances on players. He hasn't yet pitched in the major leagues.

CORCORAN: A's signing of Butler a true headscratcher

"Any time they bring a guy in on a minor-league deal, it's extremely difficult to be on the Opening Day roster," Venditte said by phone. "But I wouldn't be human if that wasn't in the back of my mind."

"Because I do something that's different than anybody else," he said, "I wanted to be in a spot where I'm judged purely on performance, not on how you do it. I think [the A's will] look past that as long as I hold up my end of the deal and perform well."

Venditte switches between throwing left-handed and right-handed throughout games depending on the handedness of the batters he's facing, utilizing a specially designed glove that allows him to easily change hands.

The only switch pitcher in the modern era was Greg Harris, who played for eight teams from 1981-95, though Harris didn't do so in the middle of games as Venditte does.

•​ JAFFE: Is Sandoval worth a $100 million contract?

Also this week, the A's signed former Kansas City Royals designated hitter Billy Butler to a three-year, $30 million deal.

Ben Estes

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide — from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Grant Wahl, Andy Staples and more — delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.