The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News

The switch-pitcher rule change

Posted by: Peter Abraham - Posted in Misc on Jul 03, 2008 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

The Pat Venditte Rule is on the books.

The Professional Baseball Umpire Corporation (PBUC) released its official rules for dealing with ambidextrous pitchers on Wednesday. These guidelines were reached after PBUC staff consulted with a variety of sources, including the Major League Baseball Rules Committee.

Here’s how it reads:

* The pitcher must visually indicate to the umpire, batter and runner(s) which way he will begin pitching to the batter. Engaging the rubber with the glove on a particular hand is considered a definitive commitment to which arm he will throw with. The batter will then choose which side of the plate he will bat from.

* The pitcher must throw one pitch to the batter before any “switch” by either player is allowed.

* After one pitch is thrown, the pitcher and batter may each change positions one time per at-bat. For example, if the pitcher changes from right-handed to left-handed and the batter then changes batter’s boxes, each player must remain that way for the duration of that at-bat (unless the offensive team substitutes a pinch hitter, and then each player may again “switch” one time).

* Any switch (by either the pitcher or the batter) must be clearly indicated to the umpire.
There will be no warm-up pitches during the change of arms.

* If an injury occurs the pitcher may change arms but not use that arm again during the remainder of the game.


On the face of it, it seems fair. Maybe there’s a little advantage to the batter but at some point the game needs to be played.

As for Venditte, he has been terrific for Staten Island. In six appearances, he has pitched 6.1 scoreless innings, allowing one hit with one walk and six strikeouts.



24 Responses to “The switch-pitcher rule change”

  1. Tyler July 3rd, 2008 at 2:52 am

    According to the daily news, Arod and his wife are splitting up…

  2. Oh Boy! July 3rd, 2008 at 2:53 am

    I thought the batter had the advantage at first too, but not anymore. The pitcher has the upper hand I believe because he will pitch on the opposite side of the batters “weaker” position. So in the end, the pitcher gets the upper hand.

  3. number18 July 3rd, 2008 at 3:02 am

    went to a staten island game a week or so ago and got to see him pitch. he’s got good stuff. after the game he stuck around and signed autographs until everyone got one. he was the only player doing so (perhaps because hes the only player who people wanted autographs from.)

    nontheless a real stand up kid and i hope he makes it.

  4. Brandon (Jose Tabata stays) (Johan Santana HR count: 13 and a SP) July 3rd, 2008 at 3:08 am

    That’s nothing check this former MLB player Marc Kroom he’s in Japan throwing 162 KM..god bless him, Oh yeh he’s 34 years old.

    162 Km at 34 yrs. old :lol:

  5. Patrick Bateman July 3rd, 2008 at 3:09 am

    How does the pitcher have the advantage? The batter is offered the chance to switch each time the pitcher changes.

  6. Yankee Mike July 3rd, 2008 at 5:47 am

    “How does the pitcher have the advantage? The batter is offered the chance to switch each time the pitcher changes.”

    You’re missing a big point. Not every hitter has a choice. Very few switch-hitters.

  7. pete-san July 3rd, 2008 at 7:20 am

    What I really want to know about those stats – which arm was used for those stats. Is there detail based on left/right pitching?

  8. K July 3rd, 2008 at 8:33 am

    But hey, the pitcher can change arms for all his pitches. If he does that, I’d doubt any batter would manage to get consistent swings. Meanwhile, if he warmed both arms well, the difference would be a lot less brutal for the pitcher.

  9. Lol July 3rd, 2008 at 8:53 am

    Dangit, this gives switch-hitter the advantage.

    I s’pose it’s fair; switch-hitter’s are NOT used to facing pitchers from the same side, but dangit.

  10. 86w183 July 3rd, 2008 at 9:02 am

    Look at it this way… with a non-switch pitcher the offense ALWAYS knows what arm the guy’s throwing with. The rule is correct and consistent with other baseball rules. For example, a relief pitcher must face one batter, but the offense can pinch hit after a pitching change.

    Even with a switch hitter the pitcher still has the advantage because he forces to offense to react to him. That’s okay by me.

    I would like to see Staten Island keep seperate stats on him LHP vs RHP.

  11. JJ July 3rd, 2008 at 10:13 am

    So according to the rule the pitcher can pitch out on the first pitch and then the rule gets unclear. Who has to pick a side first for the one switch is the big thing not defined. What needs to be decided is can the pitcher just take his glove off and wait for the batter to pick a side? I don’t believe that is clear from this rule after the first pich is thrown.

  12. 86w183 July 3rd, 2008 at 10:22 am

    JJ—- Actually it’s quite clear. Either one can change one time during the plate appearance. So if the hitter changes first, the pitcher has the right to change in response. Ditto if the pitcher tells the umpire he’s going to switch the hitter can adjust at any point during the rest of the at bat.

    If the pitcher changes, the hitter can, too.

    One change per match up per person. That’s clear to me.

  13. JJ July 3rd, 2008 at 10:47 am

    “The pitcher must visually indicate to the umpire, batter and runner(s) which way he will begin pitching to the batter”

    Does Begin mean begin the at bat or begin each individual pitch? Begin in this context needs to be defined to see who must commit first.

  14. saucY July 3rd, 2008 at 10:51 am

    agreed with ‘oh boy!’. almost seemed like this is what would be the ruling eventually…

    but if Venditte were in the red sox farm system, you can bet they’d make the rule that the batter has to decide first ;)

  15. Mike July 3rd, 2008 at 11:23 am

    Rule seems to make sense, except for the “one change per at bat” part. I think the pitcher should be allowed to change as often as he likes, except once he takes the rubber he has to throw from that side for that pitch. The switch hitter can change each time too. But none of the “if you move over there, i’m moving over here” back and forth without throwing a pitch. If you can throw major league level from both sides of the mound, you should be able to take advantage of that.

  16. 27 this year July 3rd, 2008 at 11:52 am

    Yea, but Mike the same logic for your line

    “If you can throw major league level from both sides of the mound, you should be able to take advantage of that.”

    goes for the hitter. The batter should be able to take advantage of being able to hit from both sides so they should be allowed to switch.

    I agree with 86w183, the batter knows which arm a normal pitcher is going to throw with and makes the decision based on that. Therefore, the batter should know first and commit second

  17. deadrody July 3rd, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    MAYBE there is a LITTLE advantage to the hitter ? Seriously ?

    Whoever gets to choose second has a CLEAR advantage. I’d be curious what the rationale was behind the clear decision to basically take away a switch-pitcher’s advantage. Did they flip a coin ?

  18. deadrody July 3rd, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    Also, look at it this way – a switch-hitter always has the advantage against the pitcher. He can switch to the opposite side and get a better matchup. So, along comes a switch-pitcher that could negate that advantage and MLB makes a rule that gives the advantage that switch-hitters already had in 99% of at-bats to them in 100% of at-bats.

    Sure, that makes sense.

  19. 86w183 July 3rd, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    It has always been thus in baseball. At lower levels the first communication between the teams is whether they are starting a righty or a lefty. THEN the competing coaches/managers make up their lineup.

    Even for a switch pitcher he has to “declare” before the pitch regardless of the rule because the glove is oging to be on one hand or the other. If he is pitching from the stretch he must “declare” his intention when he steps on the rubber before he can throw. Why are you guys struggling with this?

  20. RPimpsner July 3rd, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    It is a little stupid to change the rule that they were using in the middle of the season. The oringinal rule that was being used was a rule from the umpires that was on the books since the 1920s, (the team did hours of research to try and find it.)

    I am working on a way to keep track of how he throws from either side, right now he has thrown only lefty v lefty and righty v righty, so it is easy. When I do get it up and running it will be on his player page on my website (

    I am also going to sit down with him tonight before the game for an interview, so if there is anything you want to know e-mail me at

  21. nyyfaninlaaland July 3rd, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    Isn’t the advantage the pitcher gains against the non-switch hitter the whole point? It’s not like the guy is born with this skill – it was acquired through personal effort, just like a switch hitter.

    Since it’s a skill that is extraordinarily rare, but learned, I don’t think it’s fair that the pitcher has to choose first. It’s not like we’re going to see a slew of switch pitchers turn up. And what if the switch hitter is relatively equally adept – in other words, very good at his learned skill? The pitcher then has to forego the advantage of his efforts? Batter should have to choose first in my mind.

  22. 86w183 July 3rd, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    Can you agree someone has to declare his intentions first?

    In all other settings the pitcher chooses first by virture of wearing his glove on the mound. An ambidextrous pitcher has to declare first by virtue of the foot he puts on the rubber when pitching from the stretch. Why would an “ambi” pitcher from the windup be treated any differently?

    I still think the pitcher has an edge because he gets to force the hitter to either swing from his weaker side or accept a right/right or left/left match up.

  23. Andy In Sunny Daytona Beach July 3rd, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    What would happen if Venditte faced Gardner? I think that the Earth would explode. Good thing that they both play for the Yankees.

  24. Hank November 2nd, 2008 at 6:11 pm

Sponsored by:





    Read The LoHud Yankees Blog on the go by navigating to the blog on your smartphone or mobile device's browser. No apps or downloads are required.


Place an ad

Call (914) 694-3581