(WAOW) - Former Wisconsin Woodchuck Pat Venditte made his Major League debut on Tuesday when he pitched for the New York Yankees in a spring training game against the Atlanta Braves. Venditte, an ambidextrous "switch-pitcher", relieved Yankees' ace CC Sabathia mid-way through the game. In 1.1 innings of work, Venditte faced seven batters and threw right-handed to four of them and left-handed to the remaining three.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi recently requested to see Venditte pitch in a spring training game. "I've wanted to see it all spring," Girardi told MLB.com. "I think it's interesting."
As Venditte was warming up to start the 6th inning Tuesday, Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher was absolutely amazed. He mentioned to MLB.com after the game: "We were talking in the outfield – how is that possible? How does somebody even have the ability to do that? That's great. I've been waiting all spring to see it."
As a member of the 2007 Woodchucks, Venditte made 26 relief appearances and led the team with nine saves. He finished the year with a 1.76 ERA in 41 innings pitched. His solid performances in the Northwoods League and at Creighton University led Venditte to being selected in the 20th round (620th pick overall) of the 2008 Major League Baseball draft.
In other Woodchucks-related spring training news, Daniel Descalso hit a two-run, two-out walk-off homer for the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday. He has been hot for the Cards all spring, hitting .529 through 12 games. Descalso played summer ball in Wausau in 2006.
Courtesy - Wisconsin Woodchucks Press Release