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.