Switch-pitcher alert! A’s call up right/left-hander Pat Venditte

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For most of his eight-year minor league career Pat Venditte has been viewed as a novelty, because he throws both right-handed and left-handed as a rare switch-pitcher.

However, lost in the intrigue is that Venditte has actually been a really effective reliever in the minors, posting a 2.37 ERA with 464 strikeouts in 418 career innings. That includes a 1.36 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 33 innings at Triple-A for the A’s this season and now Oakland has decided to give him a shot in the big leagues.

Venditte is 29 years old, so expectations should be held in check, but fans should be rooting for him to stick in the majors and have some success if only for a chance to actually watch him pitch.

Pujols hits 701st career home run, connects for Cardinals

albert pujols
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
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ST. LOUIS — Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols hit his 701st home run, connecting Friday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Pujols launched a slider from former teammate Johan Oviedo over the Big Mac Land sign in left field at Busch Stadium. The solo drive in the fourth inning made it 1-all.

Pujols faced Oviedo for the first time and made the 24-year-old righty the 456th different pitcher he’s homered against.

The St. Louis star hadn’t homered in a week since hitting No. 699 and 700 at Dodger Stadium last Friday. Pujols had gone 10 at-bats without a home run after two starts and one pinch-hit appearance.

The Busch Stadium crowd gave the 42-year-old Pujols a long standing ovation before he came out of the Cardinals dugout to tip his cap for a curtain call.

Pujols hit his 22nd home run this season for the NL Central champion Cardinals.

Pujols is fourth on the career home run list behind Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).