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June 20, 2008 at 6:46 am ET
Video(s): Switch Pitcher vs Switch Hitter

Two things I’ve always wondered.

  1. What would happen if a switch-hitter crossed paths with a switch-pitcher?
  2. Why doesn’t every parent encourage their children to throw with both arms?

Last night, I received the answer to one of my questions.

This story doesn’t deserve a 30 second blurb at the tail end of Baseball Tonight. This story deserves a 5-minute ‘Tim Kurkjian recites baseball history’ voiceover that we get with every other monumental baseball milestone. This story deserves further footage.

Here’s the entertaining at-bat, debacle, mockery, whatever you’d like to call it, in it’s entirety…

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35 Responses to “Video(s): Switch Pitcher vs Switch Hitter”
  1. B.E. Earl says:

    I read an article about this kid last week and it said that he would normally decide which way he wanted to pitch to a switch-hitter before-hand rather than go through this charade. If his coaches told him the hitter was better from one side or another, he would force him to bat the other way.

    Oh, and his father not only encouraged him to throw from both sides but he also had him kick an equal number of field goals with each leg. To build up his lower body strength from both sides. This guy really thought things out.

    The Yankees are intrigued by this kid. He was drafted by them the past two years. I’d love to see him make the bigs. Pitching is the only thing that he does ambi, though. He is naturally right-handed.

  2. funkychicken says:

    Yet another example of the Yankees dealing with the Devil. I hear they also have a minotaur in Rookie League. But, Omar is going to have Willie Randolph as a pinch hitter for the Cyclones since he fits the Mets average age bracket anyway.

  3. babaoje says:

    Pretty sure the rule is that the batter has to announce which side of the plate he is hitting from before he steps into the box and cannot switch from that unless there is a pitching change. The pitcher then determine which hand to throw with after the batter steps in, but may not change throwing hand.

  4. Jake D says:

    The pitcher has the ball in his hand so he will always have the last word. Babaoje was right that is in fact the rule.

  5. scott mcdonald says:

    babaoje: incorrect; you can change whenever and as often as you please.

  6. baorao says:

    it was a travashamockery

  7. scott mcdonald says:

    additionally: what you can’t do is jump from one box to the other after taking your place in a batter’s box. Also, technically you may not take more than one foot out of the box between pitches unless a) swing and miss b) time is granted c)throw to a base d) missed or feinted bunt d) wild pitch e) catcher leaving the catcher’s box to give defensive signals f) pitcher walking off the mound.

    Read Section 6 of the MLB rules please. No rules concerning switching sides.

  8. Zak says:

    Thanks for featuring my SNY feed… figured someone would enjoy it, the sites I submitted it to weren’t too fond of it though… meh, their loss.

  9. Al says:

    The pitcher isn’t very useful as a fielder anyway – drop the glove, stand on the rubber with both feet. You’d always be in motion before the batter knew which hand you were throwing with.

  10. A-Tex says:

    Is the switch pitcher also a switch hitter?

  11. Mr. K says:

    Once the batter steps in on one side, he cannot switch sides without a pitching change. I had a switch hitter that I played with and he tried to switch from lefty to righty because his lefty swing didnt feel right during the at bat, and the umpire made him switch back. Your also not permited to step across the plate, its an automatic out last I checked. My same teamate got a warning for it during that at-bat.

  12. EMW says:

    Scott McDonald: how is “you can change whenever you want and as often as you please” in any way consistent with your next post, particularly the part that said “what you can’t do is jump from one box to the other after taking your place in the batter’s box”?

  13. Fan12345 says:

    I’m not sure what any of your sources are for rule(s), but here’s what’s on the MLB site about this situation (emphasis added):

    Justin Klemm, the executive director of the Professional Baseball Umpire Corporation (PBUC) said: “There is NO REFERENCE to this type of situation in the MLB rulebook, but in the PBUC manual there is a rule which states that, ‘In the rare occasion of an ambidextrous pitcher, pitcher and batter may change positions one time per at-bat.'”

    While this is a step in the right direction, Klemm admits that there is still much to be sorted out. After all, it doesn’t really matter how many times the pitcher and batter are allowed to change positions. What matters is who gets to make the final decision.

    “The batter has generally been seen as the person who sets the precedent for the ball to be put in motion,” remarked Klemm. “So, it’s a possibility that the batter will have to commit first. What we’re doing now is working through different scenarios in order to establish rules that are fair and won’t make a travesty of the game.”

    So, no rule specifically addresses this YET.

  14. A-Tex says:

    EMW: Scott can change his stance whenever he wants and as often as he wants.

  15. starsky says:

    i just love how this big a deal was made when they were losing by 5 Runs! with no outs to give hahaha and after all that the batter made an Awful swing on the last pitch!!

  16. Jayfn says:

    I went to school with him. The rule is in college at least, that the pitcher must declare first. When we played Nebraska they had the rule book out so fast because they didn’t want him to be able to switch around on them. So at least in college, once Pat declared his arm, the batter chose their side

  17. Bender says:

    Once the ump says the ball is in play and the batter steps in the box, the pitcher is free to throw the ball. It doesn’t matter that the batter is foolish enough to step out or jump over the plate. Just because the batter moves does not mean that time is out. If the pitcher sees that the batter is about to move, instead of stopping and stepping off the rubber, he should just throw the ball before the batter gets set on the other side.

  18. If the batter can change “whenever there is a pitching change”….. can he change whenever the pitcher changes?

  19. Turd Sandwich says:

    That’s classic

  20. chumpstain says:

    I may be in line with Richard on this, or maybe not.

    Once they declare what they’re doing, is it for that single pitch or the entire at bat? Is that what we’re saying here? Because managers can change pitchers in the middle of an at bat, so why couldn’t a pitcher change arms?

    What if the pitcher wants to set a batter up throwing a couple sliders right-handed, then wants to bust the hitter inside with a fastball left-handed, and so on. Or what if his fastball isn’t working lefty so he wants to change in the middle of an at bat.

  21. John Rager says:

    Unless a specific rule is made about ambidextrous pitchers, it seems to me that when the Ump says ‘play ball’, the batter cannot get out of the box without calling time out, which is then up to the discretion of the umpire. The batter would always have to take at least one pitch or stay in the box for the entire at-bat if the ump does not give him a time-out. A lot of hitters get out of the box nowadays between pitches, but that was not the case a while back. The same thing with pitchers walking off the mound betwren pitches. An at-bat should only be paused for a legitimate reason, such as fouling a ball off your foot, or cork-screwing yourself on a swinging strike, or a clear distraction like blowing paper, a loud noise, a bird, etc.

  22. JB* says:

    Interesting – I thought this was one of those TWIB quiz questions one time, and they said the MLB rule was an ambidextrous pitcher, once he changes, cannot switch back.

    I’ve had that in my head for a long time, though may very well be wrong, but it seemed somewhat logical to 10 year old JB*

  23. Rustman says:

    MLB rulebook:
    6.06: “A batter is out for illegal action when— (b) He steps from one batter’s box to the other while the pitcher is in position ready to pitch.”

    The rule is very clear.

    Henriquez should’ve been declared out. The umpires need to learn the rulebook better.

  24. chris says:

    The pitcher was never set if you watch the video closely, so the umpires were correct.

  25. chumpstain says:

    I would agree the pitcher was never set.

    But as far as the pitcher committing as JB noted. Does he just have to commit for one pitch or whole one batter? I think it’s obvious from the video he’s used to switching during innings, so I guess it’s at the very least a batter to batter thing?

  26. The umpires missed the fact that the pitcher was in position ready to pitch (he had taken Set Position) and then the batter switched sides. That’s a violation. The batter should have been called out. Rule 6.06, Out for Illegal Action.

  27. Steve says:

    I think the pitcher was using an illegal glove per MLB 1.14 & diagram #4. The rule only references 4 fingers and A thumb. The glove would give the pitcher an unfair advantage in knocking down the ball.

    Rule 6.02 pretty much puts the burden on the batter. There is no mention of the pitcher when the batter steps into the box. 6.02b does say that the batter can not leave the box when the pitcher is in the SET position or in the WINDUP. With that logic the rule do not say that the batter can not change sides at the plate if time is called or one of the other governing factors for the batter to leave the box.

    Lastly, the umpired should have enforced rule 6.02c where the umpire directs the batter into the box or starts calling strikes.

    And like some of you before me called it, the pitcher was never in the SET postion or at the start of his WINDUP. Rule 6.06b does cover the pitcher in the ready position and the batter stepping from box to the next being an automatic out for an illegal action. But the video does not show where the batter was when the pitcher was in the ready position. One would assume that the batter was in the box, but with what was going on in the video who knows for sure unless you were there.

    Maybe PBUC needs to get their rule about this situation into the MLB rule book. You would be hard pressed to to defend the PBUC rule in case of a protest. I know a lot of use umpires use PBUC for guidance, interpretation and their years of experience.

  28. John Henrichsen says:

    I too am ambidextrous like Vindette. I think it is great to see somebody else who can throw with both arms and see that he is on his way to the majors. He represents the few of us that have this special talent. I did not have a dad to keep on me just picked up the ball one day with my left and threw it and been throwing with both equally ever since. That was 23 years ago. I dont think Pat was even born yet!

  29. John, that’s pretty interesting. I wonder how many kids across the country picked up a ball this weekend and tried throwing with their other arm after seeing this story.

    My prediction: By 2015, every major league team will have at least one ambidextrous pitcher.

  30. John Henrichsen says:

    I know my son (currently 7 mos. old) will be throwing both and is going to take his dad’s glove when he is old enough (high school).

  31. chumpstain says:

    I don’t think the attempts were limited to kids… I know I tried it myself. I’m pushing 30. Never too late.

  32. John Henrichsen says:

    Never too late indeed. I am currently keeping the ambidextrous glove warm playing ball in the Pacific Coast Baseball League (Amatuer)here in Orange County.

  33. John,

    If you ever run into anything like this in a game out there, let us know. Good luck to you this season.

  34. tristin dunn says:

    wow i have never seen this before

  35. Miguel Torres says:

    Also note six years later that there is an ambidextrous high school switch-pitcher in Northern California, Alexander Trautner, 16U varsity pitcher at San Ramon Valley High School located in Danville. The youth and now high school switch-pitcher followed Pat Venditte’s college and professional baseball career and has a signed baseball from Pat Venditte.

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