When I was a kid, the Red Sox had a pitcher named Greg Harris. Harris came to Boston in his mid-30s after being claimed off waivers and spent six seasons with the team, pitching mostly out of the bullpen. In 1992-93, he appeared in 150 games (148 in relief) for Sox teams that finished 73-89 and 80-82, respectively.
Harris’ claim to fame, aside from being a decent jack-of-all-trades, was his ability to pitch with both arms, a skill he put to use once at the major league level, in his second-to-last appearance. From the Baseball-Reference.com Bullpen:
…Harris found himself pitching for the Expos in the last season of his career, and on September 28, 1995, against the Cincinnati Reds, he fullfilled his career-long ambition of pitching ambidexterously, respectively walking and retiring the two batters he faced as a southpaw, in between beginning and ending the inning, and with it the game, as a right-hander. It is conceivable that a progressive manager or organization might someday make use of a pitcher like Harris, as being a switch-pitcher would allow the pitcher to always have the platoon advantage and also render bullpen usage less wasteful.
On Thursday night, Greg Harris V2.0 made an appearance in Brooklyn.
Pat Venditte, an ambidextrous pitcher out of Creighton, debuted for the Staten Island Yankees in the ninth inning of a game against the Brooklyn Cyclones. Charged with protecting a 7-2 lead, Venditte retired the first two batters he faced before allowing the third man to reach. The seemingly inconsequential safety produced an interesting situation: the fourth batter, Ralph Henriquez, is a switch-hitter:
Henriquez had been swinging left-handed in the on-deck circle, so Venditte switched his glove to his right hand in order to face the 21-year-old backstop. Seeing this, Henriquez instead came to the plate batting from the right side. So, Venditte switched his glove back to his left hand. Henriquez then decided to bat lefty, and Venditte switched his glove yet again.
And on and on it went. This rather absurd (and highly amusing) game of chicken ultimately led to a prolonged conference between the umpires and coaching staffs of both teams. After much debate, Manriquez [sic] was made to bat right-handed against Venditte throwing right-handed. Manriquez [sic] then struck out on three pitches to end the game.
I don’t know what’s better: that neither Venditte nor Henriquez refused to back down or that the umpires clearly had no clue what to do in this situation. (Also: Manriquez?) Greg Harris never had to put up with this crap.
It doesn’t matter how good or bad this kid is: he needs to pitch in the major leagues someday. Yes, Pat Venditte currently has one professional appearance to his credit, and I am already willing to go on record as saying that I will be extremely disappointed if he does not reach The Show. Just one game. Just one inning. Just one batter (as long as it’s a switch-hitter). That’s all I’m asking.