From Azzurri blue to Dodger blue, Team Italy's Pat Venditte is ready for Los Angeles

Born and raised in the heartland of America in Omaha, Nebraska, Azzurri ambidextrous pitcher Pat Venditte is about to make a big splash in Hollywood after signing a minor-league contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers on November 27, 2017. With his eyes set on an Opening Day (March 29) roster spot at Chavez Ravine, Team Italy switch-pitcher Pat Venditte must first earn the trust of Dodger manager Dave Roberts and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt during 2018 Spring Training in Glendale, Arizona. Having proven himself as a viable weapon out of the bullpen and a fan favorite after making his MLB debut for the Oakland A's in 2015 followed by pitching stints with the Toronto Blue Jays and the Seattle Mariners in 2016, Pat Venditte helped Team Italy play competively in the 2017 World Baseball Classic in Mexico. Known for being a fireman who can stomp out potential trouble in pressure situations, the proud Italian American pitcher immediately gained the respect of Venezuela's Martin Prado and Miguel Cabrera when he entered a tight contest at Estadio Charros de Jalisco in Guadalajara on March 11, 2017. With Team Italy trailing 8-7 with one out in the top of the eighth inning, lefty specialist reliever Tommy Layne walked Martin Prado. Team Italy manager Marco Mazzieri called on Pat Venditte to get the Azzurri out of a jam and keep the game close. Facing one of MLB's most feared hitters, Miguel Cabrera, Venditte pitched from the right side. He kept the slugger off-balance throughout the at-bat and struck out the Venezuelan slugger. Next up was the dangerous left-handed hitting Carlos Gonzalez. The switch-pitcher countered by winding up from the left side with a better view of the baserunner on first base. Escaping a potential offensive onslaught, Venditte caught Martin Prado leaning too far off the bag and picked off the MLB veteran for the third out of the inning.

20130308 wbc italia canada venditte (Ezio Ratti/FIBS)Returning back from the 2017 World Baseball Classic, Pat Venditte reported to Philadelphia Phillies Spring Training in Clearwater, Florida. He spent the entire season pitching for Triple-A affiliate Lehigh Valley and posted a 3.36 ERA in 69.2 innings of relief. The 32-year-old hurler has made 41 MLB appearances (50.2 innings/4.97 ERA) in his professional career since being signed by the New York Yankees in 2007. Ready to return to the Big Leagues as part of the LA Dodgers, Pat Venditte will draw upon his strong family values of hard work and dedication that his father instilled in him at an early age. His deep Italian roots stem from his great grandfather, who immigrated to America from Italy. Growing up in the "Little Italy" neighborhood of Omaha, Venditte was literally surrounded by family. Pat said, "When I grew up, I had my grandma who lived next door, and three out of my five uncles lived within a three-block radius. It's a tight-knit family and it's a tight-knit Italian community there. The heritage is something that's very important to my family and me." Forza #Italia! #2020Olympics #LetsMakeItHappen

by Roberto Angotti