A while back we told you about Creighton's Pat Venditte, whose main claim to fame — besides being a college junior who looks like he's 12 — is that he can pitch with both hands. OK, perhaps not that impressive when you put him next to the Amazing Rubber Boy, but we have trouble picking up a fork left-handed, so he has our attention.
The Blue Jays' right/left hander has the attention of the Missouri Valley Conference as well. Venditte has a 32 2/3 innings scoreless streak in conference play, including four innings of hitless relief on Saturday as Creighton closed the regular season with a 4-3 loss to Missouri State. Venditte struck out four and walked none, facing the minimum 12 hitters, although it is not known how many he faced right- and left-handed. Venditte (7-2) has an overall 2.00 ERA with 77 strikeouts over 76 innings pitched. Creighton, the No. 2 seed, opens play in the MVC playoffs on Wednesday with an 11 a.m. game vs. Southern Illinois in Springfield, Mo. We hereby declare that game to be Pat Venditte Day at Hammons Field, where all in attendance must alternate hands between each gulp of beer.
Of course the question everyone asks is: What if he faces a switch-hitter? Would the at-bat ever end? As we understand it, college rules say that a pitcher must declare which arm he's going to use prior to each batter, although we can't imagine that scenario comes up often. And in the pros there is also a recent precedent, inspired by the great Greg Harris.
On September 25, 1995, Harris pitched for the Montreal Expos, who were 24 1/2 games out of first place in the National League East, against the Cincinnati Reds. After his first lefty pitch sailed to the backstop, Harris worked a scoreless ninth inning. He faced four batters (two from each side of the mound), allowing a walk and recording three groundouts. It was the next-to-last appearance in the majors for Harris who retired after the season.
Lord, how we miss the Expos.