Fellow ambi-thrower Harris thrilled for Venditte

Fifteen-year big league veteran pitched with both arms in a game in 1995

Fellow ambi-thrower Harris thrilled for Venditte

The news that switch-pitcher Pat Venditte is being called up by the Oakland A's to meet the team in Fenway Park on Friday night has brought smiles to the faces of many baseball fans.

Greg Harris is most definitely one of them.

Harris was the most recent Major League pitcher to do what Venditte will accomplish the first time the 29-year-old rookie faces a right-handed and a left-handed batter: pitch with both arms in a big league game.

It was Sept. 28, 1995, in the last week Harris' 15-year career in the Majors, when Harris, then a reliever for the Montreal Expos, finally was permitted by manager Felipe Alou to try out something he'd honed in warmups and side sessions for years.

Harris got through a scoreless inning, facing two Cincinnati Reds right-handers (Reggie Sanders and Bret Boone) and two lefties (Hal Morris and Eddie Taubensee), but ultimately the outing was viewed as a bit of a novelty act.

That won't be the case with Venditte, and Harris couldn't be more thrilled.

"That's unbelievable," Harris said after learning of Venditte's promotion from Triple-A Nashville -- and right before shooting a congratulatory text message to Venditte, with whom he's been in contact since before Spring Training.

Venditte warms up both arms

"And a debut in Fenway Park? Wow. That'll be fun. It's just really exciting stuff. I've been waiting for this to happen, and it's even more special for him to do it in such a special place."

While Harris was a right-handed pitcher who had the ability to throw left-handed, Venditte is different. Switch-pitching is what Venditte has always done, and it is what has gotten him to the Major Leagues. And that, according to Harris, is what's the most rewarding about this whole scenario.

"He just goes out there and gets the job done," Harris said. "It's so equal from both sides, and that's the key. It's absolutely the reason he's able to do this so effectively. Somebody taught him the right mechanics and the right pitches, and now he's coming up.

"There's going to be a lot of new things written in the big leagues. You're going to have to add another category."

Harris was attracted to switch-pitching for the strategic possibilities, but he didn't get a real shot at making it acceptable for the Major League mainstream. He hopes Venditte becomes the true pioneer of the craft as the game continues to evolve.

"There are more kids out there doing it," Harris said. "And now they'll be coming out of the woodwork, saying, 'Hey, it can happen, because here's Venditte in the big leagues doing it."

Most of all, Harris said he's happy for Venditte the man.

"He's not going to blow people away, but that's what pitching's all about -- just get outs," Harris said. "It's just so neat that he's getting the opportunity to do it.

"He's a good kid and a smart kid, and he's worked his tail off for this. He's earned it."

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.