Pitching right-handed, Venditte induced a pair of groundouts to start the inning, and Nicholas Giarraputo then singled to center field to keep the game alive. This brought switch-hitter Ralph Henriquez to the plate, and that's when the fun began.
Henriquez had been swinging left-handed in the on-deck circle, so Venditte switched his glove to his right hand in order to face the 21-year-old backstop. Seeing this, Henriquez instead came to the plate batting from the right side. So, Venditte switched his glove back to his left hand. Henriquez then decided to bat lefty, and Venditte switched his glove yet again.
And on and on it went. This rather absurd (and highly amusing) game of chicken ultimately led to a prolonged conference between the umpires and coaching staffs of both teams. After much debate, Manriquez was made to bat right-handed against Venditte throwing right-handed. Manriquez then struck out on three pitches to end the game.
But the debate has just begun: How, exactly, is the New York-Penn League supposed to deal with Venditte's unique talents?
"We're entering uncharted territory at this time, and right now it's simply our goal to be as fair as possible," said Justin Klemm, the executive director of the Professional Baseball Umpire Corporation (PBUC). "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."
New York-Penn League President Ben Hayes understandably shares Klemm's concerns regarding this rare situation, but also made a point to stress just how amazing Venditte's ability is.
"It's a very unique ability just to get to pro baseball in and of itself," said Hayes. "To be able to do so ambidextrously is just extraordinary."