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I am a freelance writer. I've covered the Cincinnati Reds, Bengals and others since 1992. I have a background in sales as well. I've sold consumer electronics, advertising and consumer package goods for companies ranging from the now defunct Circuit City to Procter&Gamble. I have worked as a stats operator for Xavier University, the University of Cincinnati, the College of Mount St. Joe and Colerain High School.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Pitching With Both Arms Pat Venditte Impresses Reds And Padres

When Jose Rijo came to the Reds from Oakland along with left-handed pitcher Tim Birtsas, Rijo evaluated the trade for Dave Parker with Cincinnati writers.

"We got two good arms in that trade," Rijo said. "Both of them are mine."

The Oakland A's Pat Venditte does have two good arms and both have now gotten outs in a Major League game to the delight of both Reds and Padres clubhouses.

Venditte is the first pitcher to pitch with both arms in a game since former Red and former Padre Greg Harris on September 28, 1995 with the Expos.. In the ninth inning, Harris retired Reggie Sanders pitching right-handed, then switched to his left hand for the next two hitters, Hal Morris and Ed Taubensee, who both batted lefty. Harris walked Morris but got Taubensee to ground out. He then went back to his right hand to retire Bret Boone to end the inning.

On Friday night Venditte pitched two innings, allowing one hit and striking out one against the Boston Red Sox.

Harris was forbidden from pitching left-handed in a game until the very end of his career in his next to last game in the Major Leagues.

Venditte is not a novelty.

"I think it's phenominal," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "This kid can get guys out. He wouldn't have pitched in the minors if he couldn't. What a valuable guy. It is a good reason to come to the park to see something yoiu've never seen before. My first question was 'How does he get loose?' "

Reds catchers Bryan Pena and Tucker Barnhart are catchers and switch hitters, who can bat either right-handed or left-handed, a rare skill in and of itself but it has been done by a handful of players since the game began.  Pitching with both hands, however, has happened twice since at least 1894.

"I faced him in the Domincian League at Escogido," Pena said. "It is pretty impressive. He throws a little harder right-handed."

Barnhart faced him while playing fot the Reds Triple A team the Louisville Bats.

'It is pretty cool," Barnhart said. "When I came to bat he was pointing at me. I thought 'why is this guy pointing at me/' but he was just telling me what arm he was going to throw with."

Baseball rules dictate that the pitcher must designate what hand he is going to use with switch hitters to prevent a standoff.  Batters want to face pitchers using the opposite arm so pitches are coming toward him and it is easier to see the ball out of a pitchers hand if he throw right-handed from the left-handers' batter's box.
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Jay Bruce asked Barnhart how hard Venditte throws.

"He throws 86-88," Barnhart said. "He throws a really good breaking ball between a slider and a curve, kindof a slurve."

Padres; manager Bud Black, who had a 121-116 record in 398 Major League games, wanted to know more about Venditte.

"I thought it was pretty damn cool," Black said. "I have to admire the kid. I am going online to read more about him."

Venditte uses a specially made glove that has an extra finger and hinge built in so he can quickly change hands.

Reds broadcaster, Chris Welsh and New York Yankees scout Tim Naehring.both were teammates of Harris but have never seen Venditte pitch.

"I used to play catch with Harris," Welsh said.  "He would do that playing catch. He would throw a few right-handed then throw a few left-handed.  He did it as a novelty.  His right arm was much stronger."

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