TORONTO — The Toronto Blue Jays added a right-hander and a southpaw with one callup Wednesday.
Ambidextrous reliever Pat Venditte worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning in his first appearance with the Blue Jays as Toronto defeated the New York Yankees 7-2 at Rogers Centre.
Venditte, who was recalled from triple-A Buffalo earlier in the day, started with his left hand and got Chase Headley on a flyout. He then switched to the right side and got Ronald Torreyes and Austin Romine on groundouts.
"You want to come in and get ahead of those hitters and get those last three outs," Venditte said, a game ball tucked into his glove by his locker. "So it was nice to do that."
The only active switch-pitcher in the major leagues nearly made the team out of spring training and pitched well in both of his appearances with the Bisons.
The Toronto bullpen has struggled over the early going this season. The Blue Jays have also been lacking depth on the left side.
"I’m here to do whatever I can," Venditte said before the game. "Teams go through — bullpens especially go through — different points in the season where some things are working well and some things aren’t. And if I can help patch that up a little bit, I’d love to do it."
Venditte appeared in 26 games with Oakland last season. He had a 2-2 record and a 4.40 earned-run average.
The 30-year-old native of Omaha, Neb., gives manager John Gibbons the unique option of a reliever who can switch sides when needed.
"It’ll be good to have him," Gibbons said before the game. "It’s an opportunity."
Venditte faced six right-handed batters in his two appearances with the Bisons. He struck out five of them.
Venditte uses a custom-made glove that allows him to use his left or right hand as needed. Once a batter is formally announced, Venditte is allowed to switch and throw from the left or right side.
"It’s a big advantage for me because I get to face those lefties left-handed and righties right-handed," Venditte said.
Once he throws the first pitch, Venditte said he will continue to throw from that side for the rest of the at-bat.
Venditte had a rule named after him in 2008. According to the "Pat Venditte Rule," an ambidextrous pitcher must declare which arm he’ll use for pitching before facing a switch-hitter, who can then decide which side of the plate he’ll bat from.
Before an at-bat against a switch-hitter, Venditte will look to the dugout to see which side Gibbons would like him to throw from.
Venditte was selected by the Yankees in the 20th round of the 2008 draft. He made his big-league debut with the Athletics last June.
The Blue Jays designated right-hander Arnold Leon for assignment to make room for Venditte on the roster.