Switch-pitcher strikes out side in first appearance with Phillies
By Paul Hagen
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Pat Venditte, the switch-pitcher, thought he had heard them all.
But after making his Phillies debut against the Blue Jays in Grapefruit League action at Spectrum Field on Friday, in which the Phillies lost 7-5, he was thrown a verbal curve. Pitching the ninth inning, he struck out the side. Against right-handed hitters Jon Berti and Juan Graterol, he threw from the right side. In between, he threw lefty against left-handed swinging Rowdy Tellez.
"This isn't my first time moving to another team, but when you get to a new team, you definitely want to start on the right foot and go out there and fill up the strike zone," said the 31-year-old who has also been with the A's, Blue Jays and Mariners. "I think I was able to do that and was very pleased with my first showing."
"You want to get off on the right foot. Can you get off on the left foot also?" he was asked.
Venditte paused, then grinned. "That's a good one," he said. "I've heard a lot, but that's the first time I ever heard that one."
Manager Pete Mackanin got into the act as well.
"I liked the way he threw. He mixed it up from both sides. I guess he's going to go in and ice both his arms now," Mackanin said.
Actually, he doesn't ice at all.
But seriously, folks ...
The Phillies didn't trade for Venditte last week to be a sideshow. They traded for him because they have only four left-handed pitchers in camp and are hoping that he can give them a little help from that side against left-handed hitters.
"It was good to see him," Mackanin said. "It's really special. It's really fun to watch. I guess he's in the mix right now. It's unusual. It's a lot of fun to watch. If he's effective -- I mean, he's pitched in the big leagues before -- and if he continues to be effective, he's in the mix."
The St. Patrick's Day game drew a crowd of 11,173, the third-largest in the 14-year history of Spectrum Field.
The Phillies, as is their tradition, wore green hats and jerseys.
Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com and covered the Phillies on Friday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.