Switch pitcher

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In baseball, a switch-pitcher is an ambidextrous pitcher who is able to pitch with either the right or left hand from the pitcher's mound.

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Pat Venditte pitching left-handed for the Oakland Athletics in 2015. Pat Venditte on August 17, 2015.jpg
Pat Venditte pitching left-handed for the Oakland Athletics in 2015.

History

19th-century

Four 19th-century pitchers are known to have thrown with both hands: Tony Mullane in 1882 and in 1893, Elton Chamberlain in 1888, Larry Corcoran in 1884, and George Wheeler. [1]

Negro leagues

Negro league switch-pitcher Larry Kimbrough was a natural left-hander, but learned to throw right-handed as a child while recuperating from an injury. [2]

Major League Baseball (modern era)

Greg A. Harris was one of few major league pitchers in the modern era to pitch with both his left and his right arm, though he only did so in a single Major League game. A natural right-hander, by 1986 he could throw well enough left-handed that he felt capable of pitching with either arm in a game. Harris did not throw left-handed in a regular-season game until September 28, 1995, the penultimate game of his career. Pitching for the Montreal Expos against the Cincinnati Reds 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 Eddie Taubensee, who were both left-handed batters. 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. [3]

Venditte pitching right-handed for the Staten Island Yankees, Short-Season A affiliates of the New York Yankees, in 2008 Venditte right handed.JPG
Venditte pitching right-handed for the Staten Island Yankees, Short-Season A affiliates of the New York Yankees, in 2008

Pat Venditte, a Major League pitcher from 2015 to 2020, regularly pitched with both arms. [4] Venditte was drafted by the New York Yankees, played for the Seattle Mariners, Toronto Blue Jays, Philadelphia Phillies, Oakland Athletics, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants and Miami Marlins.

Current Major League right-handed pitcher Yu Darvish throws with his left hand when training to keep both arms strong and balanced, but does not pitch left-handed in games. [5]

Collegiate

In 2003, the Atlanta Braves drafted switch pitcher Brandon Berdoll of Temple (Texas) Junior College in the 27th round. He never made it to the major leagues.

Matt Brunnig (Harvard University class of 2006–07) was able to pitch over 85 mph left-handed and over 90 mph right-handed, but only pitched with both arms in the same game a few times. In college, he pitched more from the right side as a starter and pitched some relief as a lefty although he did start one game left-handed. When playing the outfield after a start he would typically play the position with the other arm to rest the arm he just pitched with. [6]

Judson University hurler Ryan Perez made national headlines in 2014 playing collegiate summer baseball with the Hyannis Harbor Hawks of the Cape Cod Baseball League. Perez took home the league's annual All-Star Game MVP award after a dominating performance pitching from both sides. [7] [8] [9] [10]

Training methods

Switch-throwers are commonly taught to switch-throw at a young age. For instance, Venditte's father trained him in ambidextrous throwing from the age of three and Brunnig's father taught him from age five. [4]

Controversy

In 2008, while with the Staten Island Yankees, the New York Yankees' Single-A affiliate, switch pitcher Pat Venditte opposed switch hitter Ralph Henriquez, Venditte switched his modified glove to his left arm. [11] (Hitters traditionally derive advantages from batting from the opposite side of the plate to the pitcher's throwing arm.) Henriquez then switched to batting left-handed, and a series of changes continued for several minutes. This prompted the Professional Baseball Umpires Corporation (PBUC) to issue a new rule about switch-pitching. In short, switch pitchers must indicate to the umpire, batter, and any runners the hand which they will use to pitch. The pitcher must continue using this hand for the duration of the at bat, with some exceptions for injury and the use of pinch hitters. Following this choice, batters can then select with which hand they will bat. [12]

Related Research Articles

Ambidexterity is the ability to use both the right and left hand equally well. When referring to objects, the term indicates that the object is equally suitable for right-handed and left-handed people. When referring to humans, it indicates that a person has no marked preference for the use of the right or left hand.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Switch hitter</span> Baseball player who can hit both left- and right-handed

In baseball, a switch hitter is a player who bats both right-handed and left-handed, usually right-handed against left-handed pitchers and left-handed against right-handed pitchers.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Left-handed specialist</span> Pitching role in baseball

In baseball, a left-handed specialist is a relief pitcher who throws left-handed and specializes in pitching to left-handed batters, weak right-handed batters, and switch-hitters who bat poorly right-handed. Because baseball practices permanent substitution, these pitchers frequently pitch to a very small number of batters in any given game, and rarely pitch to strictly right-handed batters. Most Major League Baseball (MLB) teams have several left-handed pitchers on their rosters, at least one of whom is a left-handed specialist. A left-handed specialist is sometimes called a LOOGY, coined by John Sickels, and may be used pejoratively.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cut fastball</span> Baseball pitch

In baseball, a cut fastball or cutter is a type of fastball that breaks toward the pitcher's glove-hand side, as it reaches home plate. This pitch is somewhere between a slider and a four-seam fastball, as it is usually thrown faster than a slider but with more movement than a typical fastball. Some pitchers use a cutter to prevent hitters from expecting their regular fastballs. A common technique for throwing a cutter is to use a four-seam fastball grip with the baseball set slightly off center in the hand. A batter hitting a cutter pitch often achieves only soft contact and an easy out due to the pitch's movement keeping the ball away from the bat's sweet spot. The cutter is typically 2–5 mph slower than a pitcher's four-seam fastball. In 2010, the average pitch classified as a cutter by PITCHf/x thrown by a right-handed pitcher was 88.6 mph; the average two-seamer was 90.97 mph.

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Michael Stanley Myers is an American former professional left-handed relief pitcher who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1995 to 2007.

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William Edward Wagner, nicknamed "Billy the Kid", is an American former professional baseball pitcher who played 16 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB). He pitched for the Houston Astros (1995–2003), Philadelphia Phillies (2004–2005), New York Mets (2006–2009), Boston Red Sox (2009), and Atlanta Braves (2010). Wagner is one of only six major league relief pitchers to accumulate at least 400 career saves. A left-handed batter and thrower, Wagner stands 5 feet 10 inches (1.78 m) tall and weighs 180 pounds (82 kg).

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In baseball, the lefty-righty switch is a maneuver by which a player that struggles against left-handed or right-handed players is replaced by a player who excels in the situation, usually only for the duration of the situation in question. For instance, a right-handed pitcher who is weak against left-handed hitting and is facing a left-handed hitter would be replaced with a pitcher, usually left-handed, who does a superior job of getting a left-handed hitter out. Similarly, a batter who has difficulty hitting against a left-handed pitcher will sometimes be pinch hit for by a batter who does well, even if the original player is superior in other respects.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Larry Corcoran</span> American baseball player (1859–1891)

Lawrence J. Corcoran was an American pitcher in Major League Baseball. He was born in Brooklyn, New York.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Yu Darvish</span> Japanese baseball pitcher (born 1986)

Farid Yu Darvishsefat, more commonly known as Yu Darvish, is a Japanese professional baseball pitcher for the San Diego Padres of Major League Baseball (MLB). Darvish has also played in MLB for the Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Chicago Cubs and in Nippon Professional Baseball for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters. In international play, Darvish pitched in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2009 World Baseball Classic as a member of the Japanese national team.

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Greg Allen Harris is an American former professional baseball pitcher, who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for 15 years (1981–1995), Harris pitched in 703 career games, starting 98. He pitched for the San Diego Padres in the 1984 World Series, which they lost to the Detroit Tigers in five games.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tony Mullane</span> Irish baseball player (1859–1944)

Anthony John Mullane, nicknamed "Count" and "The Apollo of the Box", was an Irish Major League Baseball player who pitched for seven teams during his 13-season career. He is best known as a pitcher that could throw left-handed and right-handed, and for having one of the highest career win totals of pitchers not in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pat Venditte</span> American baseball player (born 1985)

Patrick Michael Venditte Jr. is an American former professional baseball pitcher. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Oakland Athletics, Toronto Blue Jays, Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, and Miami Marlins. After attending Creighton University, Venditte was drafted by the New York Yankees in 2008. He signed with the Athletics as a free agent before the 2015 season and made his MLB debut that year.

This is an alphabetical list of selected unofficial and specialized terms, phrases, and other jargon used in baseball, along with their definitions, including illustrative examples for many entries.

Jared Craig Shuster is an American professional baseball pitcher in the Atlanta Braves organization. He played college baseball at Wake Forest University. He was drafted by the Braves in the first round of the 2020 Major League Baseball Draft.

References

  1. "George Wheeler". Archived from the original on 29 October 2016. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  2. Chris Rainey. "Larry Kimbrough". sabr.org. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  3. DeMarco, Tony (March 27, 2007). "Expert: Bonds Might Not Hold Record Long" . Retrieved June 12, 2007.
  4. 1 2 Schwarz, Alan (April 6, 2007). "Throwing Batters Curves Before Throwing a Pitch". The New York Times .
  5. Grant, Evan (February 22, 2012). "See Rangers' righty Yu Darvish throw left-handed in practice". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 2012-04-19.
  6. Bruce Lowitt (8 July 2003). "No gimmick:Floridian is two pitchers in one". Archived from the original on 29 October 2016. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  7. Pappas, Ted (August 1, 2014). "One awesome All-Star Game". Barnstable Patriot. Barnstable, MA. pp. A11.
  8. "An ambidextrous pitcher wows Cape Cod League". usatoday.com. August 3, 2014. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  9. Dayn Perry (August 6, 2014). "Meet Ryan Perez, the Cape Cod League's ambidextrous pitcher". cbssports.com. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  10. "#7 Ryan Perez - Profile". pointstreak.com. Retrieved May 29, 2022.
  11. "Three years ago, Pat Venditte became the first full-time switch-pitcher in the modern era of MLB". MLB.com. Retrieved 2022-08-24.
  12. "Rule 5.07 (f) – Ambidextrous Pitchers" (PDF). Official Baseball Rules 2015 Edition. MLB Advanced Media. May 18, 2015. Retrieved January 11, 2019.

Further reading