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Umpires establish 'Venditte rule'
2008-07-02 18:42
by Bob Timmermann

Actually, it's not a rule as much as it's a set of guidelines ....

But spurred on by the comedic battle between switch pitcher Pat Venditte of Staten Island and switch hitter Ralph Henriquez of Brooklyn, the Professional Baseball Umpires Corporation, the association representing minor league umpires, came out with this today to handle future ambidextrous matchups.

    • The pitcher must visually indicate to the umpire, batter and runner(s) which way he will begin pitching to the batter. Engaging the rubber with the glove on a particular hand is considered a definitive commitment to which arm he will throw with. The batter will then choose which side of the plate he will bat from.
    • The pitcher must throw one pitch to the batter before any "switch" by either player is allowed.
    • After one pitch is thrown, the pitcher and batter may each change positions one time per at-bat. For example, if the pitcher changes from right-handed to left-handed and the batter then changes batter's boxes, each player must remain that way for the duration of that at-bat (unless the offensive team substitutes a pinch hitter, and then each player may again "switch" one time).
    • Any switch (by either the pitcher or the batter) must be clearly indicated to the umpire.
    • There will be no warm-up pitches during the change of arms.
    • If an injury occurs the pitcher may change arms but not use that arm again during the remainder of the game.

Let the record reflect that I blogged about Pat Venditte back in April.

April of 2007.

2008-07-02 20:04:34
1.   Bluebleeder87
There will be no warm-up pitches during the change of arms.

Makes sense. There assuming the pitcher warmed both arms up. I'm telling you man, my buddy throws with both arms as well, he throws a little better with his right arm.

2008-07-02 20:30:49
2.   Chyll Will
There's a loophole in here somewhere, and if Earl Weaver can find it, Bobby Valentine will employ it.
2008-07-03 04:05:30
3.   joejoejoe
I think the new rule is too complicated. Once the batter steps into the box he should be stuck there until after a pitch is thrown and the pitcher should always gets to choose last which arm to use. A batter could switch sides once per at-bat. The multiple switches in this case were a result of a novel situation. Once the rules are clearly established the batter will simply choose the best option at the outset and very rarely switch sides to make an adjustment.

Q: I'm not sure but I think I've seen batters switch sides (though not twice) in the middle of an at-bat against Mariano Rivera. Can switch-hitters now only switch once against non-switch pitchers?

2008-07-03 04:07:38
4.   RIYank
I don't understand why the umpires' association gets to make up new rules. I know, they're "guidelines". But the umps will now be enforcing things that they just collectively made up. That doesn't seem right to me.
2008-07-03 11:29:55
5.   ABreck
Isn't this a complete reversal of current policy? I really don't get how they can "decide" to change.

Or does this explain why the strike zone is what it is - they unilaterally decided to call something different once the season began and it's up to the players to adapt to what the umpires want to call that day (ooh, too many burritos last night, I think I'll go with a high strike zone today).

2008-07-03 11:57:36
6.   Bob Timmermann
It's a rule for the minor leagues, not the majors. Major league rule changes need approval of many more people.

I would assume the minors is a bit looser about rule changes.

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