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Switch Pitcher vs Switch Hitter Rule

By Aditya update Bhattarai / 26 July 2023 07:46 AM

Venditte made the coaches establish a rule for when switch pitchers face switch hitters.
Source : twitter

Switch Pitcher vs Switch Hitter Rule mentions the batter can choose their hitting side in the home plate. Both can switch their positions one time per at-bat.

The pitching staff has to notify the umpire-in-chief, hitters, and runners about the side they are throwing. They cannot change sides unless the pitcher injured their hand before the throw,

A Switch pitcher is also an ambidextrous pitcher that can throw with both right and left hands from the pitching mounds. They have a natural advantage over the opponents in a normal game. Similarly, batters that can play from both sides of the home plate are called switch hitters. 

The Umpires faced such a situation with Vendittes and Henriquez during the Staten Island Yankees and Brooklyn Cyclones game on 19 July 2008.

Later, it was announced that pitchers can't change sides without informing the connected members on the ground.

Switch Pitcher Vs Switch Hitter

Switch pitcher Pat Venditte rule states that pitchers must inform umpires, hitters, and runners while changing their side while pitching.

They can only change it once after a pitch is thrown in the game.

The Venditte rule provides an advantage to the switch hitters who can bat with both sides possibly restricting the pitchers to shift the other hand unless the batter is injured or retired.

Ambidextrous pitcher Venditte had the switch hitter rule named after him in some places.
Source : twitter

The rules by Professional Baseball Umpires Corporation (PBUC) regarding ambidextrous pitchers and hitters are mentioned below:

  • Visual Indication - Pitchers must visibly indicate to the umpire, batter, and runners about their pitching side before the pitch. 
  • Gloves Position - Stepping into the rubber with the glove in the opposite hand is a clear signal for batters to choose a side.
  • Required At-Bat Play - After stepping into the rubber, a pitch must be thrown or an At-bat should be completed before they can think about changing the sides again.
  • Change After At-Bat Play - Finishing an at-bat after changing position allows them to do so again before getting ready for another play.
  • Injury Or Pinch Shifts - Pitchers and Hitters can change sides in case of an injury before the At-Bat. They can also do so if the pitcher or hitter gets replaced by another.
  • Indication To Umpires - Umpires should always be notified about the switch by the batter and hurler.

Switch Pitcher Pat Venditte is the reason behind the creation of changing side rules in a play. 

This rule was created after the blunder during his play against Cyclones' hitter Ralph Henriquez as both parties keep on changing sides for a long time before throwing Venditte threw the pitch.

After the game, they created a set of regulations for restricting the pitchers and hitters from changing sides before an at-bat is over. It was developed to maintain transparency during the game.

But the rule was implemented in MLB when Venditte faced Red Sox Blake Swihart during his debut game with Oakland Athletics against Boston Red Sox in 2015.

Matt Brunnig is another player from college baseball who can pitch with both hands during the game.

Best Switch Pitchers In MLB

MLB switch pitchers include Tony Mullane, George Wheeler, Greg Harris, and seven others. Pat Vindette, Yu Darvish, and Jeff Shwarz are also ambidextrous.

Darvish is an ambidextrous pitcher that practices with his left arm during training everytime.
Source : facebook

There have been less than twenty players that could pitch with both right and left hands from the pitching mounds. Vindette and Darvish are among the switch hitters from the new generation.

Greg A. Harris was also one of the few major league pitchers from the modern era that could pitch with both arms, but he attempted it only once during an MLB game. Being a talented right-handed pitcher he was fairly capable of doing it with his other arm.

Another player, Todd Bryan was also among the ambidextrous pitchers in the 19th century who was an outfielder for the Cubs and the Braves.

Below are twelve players known to be switch pitchers in MLB history.

  1. Pat Venditte
  2. Yu Darvish
  3. Greg Harris
  4. Tod Brynan
  5. Larry Corcoran
  6. Elton Chamberlain
  7. Tony Mullane
  8. Moxie Manuel
  9. George Wheeler
  10. Boo Ferriss
  11. George Brett
  12. Jeff Schwarz

First MLB Switch Pitcher

Tony Mullane is the first switch pitcher in the history of MLB throwing his first ambidextrous pitch in 1882. Elton Chamberlain is the second to pitch with both hands.

The pitcher from the late 19th century started showing the ability to pitch with left and right hands.  Larry Corcoran and George Wheeler are the third and fourth ambidextrous MLB pitchers.

While there were others in foreign leagues that learned to pitch with their left hand after suffering an injury during childhood. Larry Kimbrough is a natural right-handed hurler that can pitch with both hands.

Little League Switch Pitcher

Tyler Shindo is the Little League switch pitcher playing for the Honolulu Little League Team. Shindo uses a baseball glove with six fingers to shift between hands.

The Little League star started pitching with both arms as 9 years old kid. In three years, he became a skilled switch pitcher that can throw well with both arms.

Shindo exhibited his skills during the Little League West Regional in San Bernadino, California. Later, his video of throwing a scoreless inning in the West Regional Championship also became trending on social media.

Switch Hitters In MLB

Best switch hitters of all time are Chipper Jones, Mickey Mantle, Frankie Frisch, and Pete Rose. Eddie Murray and Tim Raines are also recorded in MLB history.

Pete Rose is a MLB Switch hitter with the highest RBI for many consecutive seasons.
Source : facebook

Here are all the top switch hitters in MLB as updated by Yardbarker.

  • Mickey Mantle
  • Chipper Jones
  • Frankie Frisch
  • Pete Rose
  • Eddie Murray
  • Tim Raines
  • Carlos Beltrán
  • Roberto Alomar
  • Ted Simmons
  • Reggie Smith
  • Bernie Williams
  • Lance Berkman
  • Chili Davis
  • Maury Wills
  • George Davis
  • Francisco Lindor
  • Carlos Zambrano

Some FAQs

Can A Switch Hitter Switch During An At Bat?

Yes. A switch hitter can switch his position from left to right during an at-bat when the pitcher is not in windup position. Switching sides during windup is considered out.

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