American Athlete Uses Both Arms to Pitch

August 5, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. pitcher / ˈpɪtʃ ər / (n.) – a baseball player who throws the ball to the batter
Example: The pitcher cannot play in the game because of his injured shoulder.

2. ambidextrous / ˌæm bɪˈdɛk strəs / (adj.) – being able to use both hands skillfully
Example: The team recruited an ambidextrous baseball hitter.

3. warmup / ˈwɔrmˌʌp / (n.) – an activity done in preparation for a game
Example: The team did a brief warmup before the game.

4. satisfied / ˈsæt ɪsˌfaɪd / (adj.) – being contented or pleased about something
Example: The coach was not satisfied with the team’s performance.

5. gratitude / ˈgræt ɪˌtud / (n.) – a feeling of being thankful
Example: The retired athlete expressed his gratitude toward his teammates.


Read the text below.
A player of the team Oakland Athletics has become the first pitcher in 20 years to throw using both arms in one baseball game.

Pat Venditte, the 29-year-old reliever of the Oakland Athletics, uses a customized glove with a thumb hole on both sides and has six fingers to pitch with both his left and right arms in a game. With the help of his father, Venditte learned to throw with both arms when he was three. Aside from being an ambidextrous pitcher, Venditte can also kick a flag football using either of his legs.

Venditte demonstrated his ability as a switch pitcher in a game against the Boston Red Sox in June. During his warmups and the game itself, Venditte pitched both with his right and left arm. The game ended with the Boston Red Sox beating the Oakland Athletics. Despite losing, Venditte still considered it a satisfying performance. He expressed his gratitude for finally being able to play in a major league after spending more than seven years in minor leagues.

In the same month, however, Venditte sprained his right shoulder. Because of this, the Oakland Athletics decided to put him on a 15-day disabled list. This prohibited him from playing any game until he recovered.

While this rare ability is advantageous to any baseball team, there is a limitation to switching arms for pitching in a game. According to baseball rules, an ambidextrous pitcher cannot switch to his other arm unless a batter finishes his turn and a new batter comes.

Other known ambidextrous pitchers are Larry Corcoran, Elton Chamberlain [CHEYM-ber-lin], Greg Harris, Tony Mullane [muhl-LEYN], Moxie Manuel [MOK-see MAN-yoo-uh l], and George Wheeler [HWEE-ler].

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What do you think is the advantage of being an ambidextrous pitcher?
·         What can athletes do to avoid getting an injury during a game?

Discussion B

·         Do you think being a baseball player is a good career? Why or why not?
·         Given the chance, would you want to become a professional baseball player? Why is that so?

August 5, 2015