EAST PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — Pat Venditte is known across the baseball world as the ambidextrous pitcher. The four year Major League switch-pitcher has carved out a solid career as both a left handed and right handed pitcher.
“As the game has evolved, I’ve tried to evolve with it and figure out new ways to get guys out. Yeah, the switch pitching is a massive help for me,” Venditte said. “Without that, I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing. To have that left on left and right on right advantage has been nice.”
Pat can now be called a Peoria resident. His wife Erin is a Peoria Notre Dame grad, and the couple is now making Peoria a permanent home. For the past two months, Venditte has been working out in East Peoria with area minor leaguers and college players in what is essentially an extended spring training.
“It’s just nice to have some sort of competitive aspect to the training,” Venditte said. “You can train all you want on your own, but until you get sixty feet six inches away from the hitter and you are able to feel that in the game kind of experience, there is no training quite like that.”
Pat’s unique throwing style and major league experience keeps batters guessing. It’s also giving area players a unique opportunity during the current pandemic.
“Yeah it’s huge being able to face a big leaguer and just to get at bats, really has been nice,” Pittsburgh Pirates minor leaguer Luke Mangieri said. “Pretty much weekly we’ve been facing each other, so it’s been fun.”
“These boys can hit here and these boys can pitch, I’ve known that for a long time. I’ve had a lot of games over the years within this area,” Venditte said. “The talent here is unbelievable and it’s nice to be able to train with these guys.”
With no clear return to baseball in sight, Venditte is staying sharp for the season while also helping the next generation of central Illinois stars.