Pitchers in One
By Patrick Hyde
He was the subject of a front-page feature in The New York
Times midway through his junior season. College baseball
players normally don't garner that kind of attention.
Creighton pitcher Pat Venditte is not a normal college baseball
player. He's two pitchers in one. A lefty and a righty. A
And pretty darn good to boot.
Venditte finished last season with an 8-2 record, 1.88 ERA, 99
strikeouts and held opposing hitters to a .189 batting average.
He started the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament
championship game, which Creighton won, and was named MVP of the
The New York Yankees selected him in the 45th round of last
year's draft. The lighty - or is it refty? - chose to return to
Creighton for his senior season, but has proven that he is more
than just a novelty.
After The New York Times piece, he became the subject of
more newspaper and television features. All the attention might
have made other players nervous or inconsistent. Venditte,
though, maintains an insouciant demeanor toward all the hoopla.
"I try not to think about that stuff," he said. "If you do, you
put the team on the back burner."
Venditte made only five appearances as a freshman in 2005 but
has been the model of consistent improvement ever since.
Venditte made 30 appearances as a sophomore and finished the
season 4-3 with a 3.02 ERA and a team-leading 54 strikeouts.
His success is the result of hard work and, obviously, his
unique skill set.
"I can't say enough about his work ethic," Creighton pitching
coach Rob Smith said. "He is one of the best I've seen at this
level with his work ethic and habits."
Smith said that during the off-season, Venditte came in before
practice and would long-toss with one arm and then do drills
with the other during practice.
During the season, Venditte said that he long-tosses five to six
days a week depending on his game workload.
"Coach Smith also has us do a lot of running," Venditte said.
"The conditioning and long-tossing are definitely the keys to my
Now following his stellar junior season, Venditte enters his
final season on several preseason All-American teams and has the
opportunity to solidify himself as a bona fide professional
"The novelty part is not there anymore," Missouri State coach
Keith Guttin said. "He has good stuff from both sides."
When he pitches right-handed, Venditte has a fastball in the
upper 80s to lower 90s. He compliments his fastball with a
curveball and is working on a slider and a changeup. From the
left side, Venditte predominantly throws a slider.
He pitches right-handed to right-handed batters, left-handed to
left-handed batters and tries to put switch hitters on their
less-effective side. His custom glove allows him to
effortlessly switch hands between batters.
For batters and teams that haven't faced him before, it can be
"You have to go against him like any right-handed or left-handed
pitcher," Guttin said.
Though Venditte said that he is not going to think about his
future in professional baseball until after the season, those
who know him think that he has a chance to become a good
Yankees area scout Steve Lemke thought Venditte was good enough
to draft last year after he saw him pitch at Creighton and over
"He is starting to become a prospect," Lemke said. "He always
gets people out right- or left-handed. His velocity was getting
between 87 and 91 right-handed, and he is very effective against
Venditte's right-handed velocity is average for a major leaguer
but needs to develop a secondary pitch if he wants to continue
to improve, Smith said. He also said that it's going to be
interesting to see how professional hitters handle his
Whether Venditte pitches left- or right-handed professionally is
"My recommendation was to let him do both," Lemke said. "At some
point, he might have to right-handed because he has more
physical ability right-handed."
One thing is certain - he'll do whatever it takes to succeed.
"The sky's the limit for him because of his work ethic," Smith