Blue Jays add a unique specimen to their 2016 bullpen in Venditte

By: Andrew Hendriks

Canadian Baseball Network

Ahead of Wednesday's ALCS matchup against Kansas City, Toronto, a franchise that never resists an opportunity to strengthen their organization, added an intriguing arm to their 40-man roster.

Although ineligible to lend his services to the Jays playoff run, recent waiver-wire addition, Pat Venditte figures to factor in to Toronto's plans as the club looks to iron out its bullpen options during spring training action next March.

Venditte, 30, broke into the majors in 2015-his seventh season in affiliated ball. Having appeared in 26 games with the 68-94 Oakland Athletics, the former 20th round draft pick pitched to an ERA of 4.40 over his 28 and two-thirds innings of work at the major-league level.

Known primarily for his unique pitching style, Venditte is one of only three MLB hurlers since 1900 to have the ability to effectively throw strikes with both arms. The last to do so was Greg Harris, a California-born swingman who concluded his 15-year MLB career with the Montreal Expos in 1995.

With a fastball that rarely breaks a Mark Buehrle-esq 85 MPH, the newest Blue Jay also features a quality changeup in addition to a flip slider that generally lives within the 70 MPH range. Although he throws harder from the right side, Venditte can be even more dangerous with a near-submarine style sweeping delivery he utilizes against lefties.

A throwback to the days when hitting your spots and using general deception overshadowed the numbers flashed briefly on the screens of radar guns and in-stadium scoreboards, Venditte has become more than just a sideshow act during his seven seasons within professional baseball.

Although appearing heavily in relief at the minor-league level, the Nebraska born pitcher has also made 9 starts across his 268 appearances. In all, the 6-foot-1 Creighton University standout has gone 18-22 while recording an ERA of 2.39 across 429 and a third innings of work.

Creighton's Big East NCAA athletic program, you ask? They call themselves the Blue Jays.

In order to clear a spot on the clubs 40-man, the Jays were forced to drop utility infielder Darwin Barney from their roster. In a mere 23 at bats with the Jays following his late season acquisition, Barney, 29, hit .304 while fortifying Toronto's defence in the wake of Troy Tulowitzki's late season shoulder injury.

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Andrew Hendriks

Born in southern Ontario during the late 1980's, Hendriks had a front row seat to watch the Blue Jays reach the pinnacle in '92/'93 as a child, an experience that only bolstered this Canadian's love for the "American Game." Having played since before his memory allows access too, his passion for Baseball grew over years of emulating his heroes on the local sandlots, memorizing the backs of chewing gum scented cards and travelling across North America to experience as many aspects of the game as possible. In 2009, Hendriks began volunteering at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame as a Weekend Tour Guide. By 2010, he was hired on to help curate for the museum & Instruct the fundamentals of the game along side such legends as Tony Fernandez, Roberto Alomar and Jim Fanning during the Hall's annual Kids On Deck program. Following the 2011 season, Hendriks began blogging and co-hosting a weekly podcast for www.BackInBlue.ca, a Blue Jays themed website ran by fans, for fans. Looking to continue connecting with baseball fans across the country, Hendriks is excited to join such a strong team at the Canadian Baseball Network and looks forward to chipping in.