Venditte has been stuck in the minor leagues for the entirety of his career so far, but the 29-year-old was called up earlier this week by the Athletics after an impressive start to the season with their Triple-A affiliate in Nashville.
The ambidextrous pitcher entered the game at the start of the seventh inning, coming to the mound to the Joni Mitchell song ‘Both Sides, Now.’
To his first batter, left-handed Brock Holt, Venditte pitched left-handed, and got him on a ground out.
He then switched his specially-made two-thumbed glove onto his left hand and pitched right-handed to Hanley Ramirez, who hit a single on the second pitch. Then, still pitching with his right arm, he got Mike Napoli to ground into an inning-ending double play. Venditte went on to pitch a perfect eighth inning as well.
Although the Athletics lost the game 4-2, it was a satisfying personal performance for a man who had spent more than seven years in the minor leagues waiting for his chance on the big stage.
“The most special thing is being here,” Venditte said. “It’s been such a long journey.
“Whatever attention comes with it is fine, but we’re here to win games. It doesn’t matter if I’m pitching with both hands or one. It’s one effort.”
And Red Sox manager John Farrell admitted he was shocked just how impressive Venditte was.
“That was truly amazing,” Farrell said. “It’s a remarkable thing to see what one person’s body is capable of doing. The coordination…even guys in the dugout were kind of marveling.”
If Venditte comes up against a switch-hitter, he has to indicate to the umpire before the at-bat begins which hand he will be pitching with, with the batsman allowed to react and change accordingly.
The last time a pitcher threw with both hands in a major league game was on September 28 1995, when Greg A. Harris did it with the Montreal Expos.