Switch hitters aren't uncommon in baseball but switch pitchers are very rare. In fact, the rules have been changed Pat Venditte, the Buffalo Bisons pitcher who will need to inform the batter which hand he will use.
On Tuesday, as the team settled into Coca-Cola Field, Venditte was in the left-field bullpen practicing with each arm. He had a taste of the big leagues last year with the Athletics and wants another shot.
"There were times where if there are seven righties in the line up and I'm out there for three or four innings, I would eventually run out of pitches right-handed and have to face those hitters lefty, but I don't know if that's the type of role I have here, I don't know," Venditte said Tuesday.
Venditte uses the same glove with either hand. He says there are some quirks in his conditioning, since he has to take care of both arms and both sides of his body to adjust to the strain of pitching.
"From a cardio standpoint, I do have to do a little bit more, just because when a normal pitcher warms up, he throws how many he takes to get in the game and then he can relax a little bit. Whereas once I get one arm warmed, I have to turn around and do the other one. So, I have to make sure I'm in pretty good conditioning shape so I can handle that workload," Venditte said.
The reliever says the International League has a reputation for being a pitcher's league against the Pacific Coast League where he played last season which is considered a hitter's league.
Venditte is also a switch-hitter but batted only once last year and struck out. After years in the minors, Venditte had a taste of the big leagues with the Athletics in 2015 and hopes to make it to the big leagues permanently with the parent Blue Jays.
The Bisons' first game of a seven-game road trip is Thursday, April 7 in Pawtucket at 7:05 p.m. Buffalo will hold its Home Opener on Thursday, April 14 against the Rochester Red Wings at 2:05 p.m. on the 28th anniversary of the first game ever played at Coca-Cola Field in 1988.