An ambidextrous pitcher is turning some heads

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There’s a story over at ESPN Chicago today about Ryan Perez, a pitching prospect who happens to pitch both right-handed and left-handed. At least one scout is saying he’s the real deal:

“He can really pitch. He’s a crafty, crafty guy. It’s not like he’s just hitting 82. I’ve seen him in a tryout camp where he was 87-88 from the left and around 91-92 from the right. That’s legit velocity. “On his sheer ability of throwing strikes and commanding the strike zone, I definitely think teams will take a look at him. I think people will definitely have interest in him.”

The last guy we heard doing this is Yankees minor leaguer Pat Venditte. At 26 and repeating AA with less-than-stellar results,*Venditte is more novelty than prospect.  Perez’s future remains to be seen, of course. My sense, though, is that if any ambidextrous pitcher ever had real promise that someone, at some point, would have told him to pitch with the better arm rather than mess around with the double-barreled approach.

UPDATE: Oops, that was sloppy. Venditte only pitched two innings at AA last year, so it’s misleading to say he’s “repeating AA.”  He isn’t doing fabulously in AA so far this year, but my initial assessment of him was off. He’s a little old to be considered a prospect, I think, but he has had some success to date.

Video: Phillies rookies dance to “Greased Lightning”

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As per tradition, towards the end of the regular season, veterans on baseball’s various clubs haze the rookies by making them dress up and do something a bit embarrassing. That used to include things like making rookies dress up like women and carry pink backpacks, but Major League Baseball banned that practice, so veterans had to get marginally more creative.

The Phillies had their rookies — including Rhys Hoskins, J.P. Crawford, and Nick Williams — dress up like characters in Grease and perform “Greased Lightning” at their hotel in Atlanta on Friday night. Not only did the Phils’ vets and other members of the crew get a free show, but so did employees of the hotel and nearby hotel patrons.

Video with sound is not currently allowed to be embedded, so click here for that.

As MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki explains, Hoskins was the inspiration for the gag as he has earned the nickname “Rhys Lightning.” (Rhys, for the uninitiated, rhymes with “Grease.”) Hoskins said, “You always hear about team chemistry. I think stuff like that let’s you get to know guys on a different level, when you’re not at the field. You just become more personable with people. The better relationships you have, there’s a different level of playing for each other. And I think that’s usually a sign of a good team.”

The Twins also had some fun at the rookies’ expense:

Video: Aaron Judge hits 47th, 48th homers, now one shy of tying Mark McGwire’s rookie record

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Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge went yard twice in Sunday afternoon’s 9-5 loss to the Blue Jays, bringing his season total up to 48. That leaves him just one home run shy of tying the single-season rookie record set by Mark McGwire with the Athletics in 1987.

After Sunday’s performance, Judge is hitting .281/.416/.610 with 48 home runs, 105 RBI, and 122 runs scored in 651 plate appearances. He has the AL Rookie of the Year Award on lock and is neck-and-neck with the Astros’ Jose Altuve, Chris Sale of the Red Sox, and the Indians’ Corey Kluber in the AL MVP Award race.