Girardi intrigued by 'switch-pitcher'

Girardi intrigued by 'switch-pitcher'

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Manager Joe Girardi does not usually have input on which Minor Leaguers accompany the Yankees on Spring Training road trips. This spring, however, Girardi made one special request.

Pat Venditte, the ambidextrous "switch-pitcher," will accompany New York to Lake Buena Vista, Fla., on Tuesday for a 1:05 p.m. ET split-squad game against the Atlanta Braves on MLB.TV. There is a good chance that Girardi will call on Venditte to pitch in his first Major League Spring Training game.

"I've wanted to see it all spring," Girardi said. "I think it's interesting."

Venditte, 24, first gained national fame during a Class A game in 2008, in a comical sequence with Mets Minor Leaguer Ralph Henriquez.

Henriquez, a switch-hitter, began moving from batter's box to batter's box, while Venditte shifted his specially designed six-finger glove from his right hand to his left. After several cycles, umpires ruled that Henriquez had to commit to one side of the plate before Venditte committed to his right arm or left.

"That was like a Laurel and Hardy thing," Girardi said.

One month later, the Professional Baseball Umpire Corporation released a series of rules pertaining to Venditte's situation, allowing both batters and pitchers to switch sides once per at-bat.

Venditte split time between Class A Charleston and Tampa last season, compiling a 4-2 record and 22 saves.

CC Sabathia is scheduled to start the game for the Yankees. And because Sabathia will scale back his workload to 75 pitches in his final tune-up before the regular season, there is a good chance that the Yankees will have enough available innings for Venditte to pitch.

Aceves hurting: Reliever Alfredo Aceves will not make his scheduled outing on Tuesday due to back tightness. The Yankees will monitor his situation over the next few days before determining whether Aceves, who struggled through back pain last September and October, will be available for Sunday night's opener against the Red Sox. ... Girardi said the Yankees are considering having Phil Hughes start the season in the Minor Leagues, which would allow them to carry an extra reliever on the roster for the first few days of April. The club does not need a fifth starter until its April 17 game against the Texas Rangers.

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.