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Article:The Diamond Notes

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Lots going on in the majors and the minors. We have opposing managers saying there are rats in the other team’s facility, a three homer day and a prospect that can multitask. Here’s a look at some of the things that took place on diamonds this past week…

Bring in the lefty… no, the righty… no the lefty - Pat Venditte could go places in the Majors. His Staten Island Yankees were leading the host Cyclones, 7-2, last week in the bottom of the ninth inning when he came in to close out the ballgame. Venditte, a 20th-round Draft pick who happened to be making his professional debut, is ambidextrous.

The Creighton State product even uses a specially-made six-fingered glove that can be worn comfortably on either hand. Getting the first two outs on ground balls, Brooklyn’s Nicholas Giarraputo then singled to center field to keep the game alive. This brought switch-hitter Ralph Henriquez to the plate, and that's when the fun began.

Henriquez had been swinging left-handed in the on-deck circle, so Venditte switched his glove to his right hand in order to face the 21-year-old backstop. Seeing this, Henriquez instead came to the plate batting from the right side. So, Venditte switched his glove back to his left hand. Henriquez then decided to bat lefty, and Venditte switched his glove yet again.

Like a woman unable to make her mind up if she wanted to wear the red dress or the blue one, this went on for quite a while. This rather absurd (and highly amusing) game of chicken ultimately led to a prolonged conference between the umpires and coaching staffs of both teams. After much debate, Manriquez was made to bat right-handed against Venditte throwing right-handed. Manriquez then struck out on three pitches to end the game.

But the debate has just begun: How, exactly, is the New York-Penn League, a short season Class A league, supposed to deal with Venditte's unique talents?

According to Justin Klemm, who is the executive director of the Professional Baseball Umpire Corporation, "We're entering uncharted territory at this time, and right now it's simply our goal to be as fair as possible. There is no reference to this type of situation in the MLB rulebook, but in the PBUC manual there is a rule which states that, 'In the rare occasion of an ambidextrous pitcher, pitcher and batter may change positions one time per at-bat.'"

This has cause more confusion than a mouse in a burlesque show, as Foghorn Leghorn would say.

Cubs playing head games with cross-town rivals - There was some trash talking in last weekend’s series between the Cubs and their cross-town rivals. Yes, Ozzie was doing the majority of the talking, going so far as to say to reporters on WGN America that there were rats lifting weights at Wrigley Field. When the final out was made Sunday night at the Friendly Confines, it was the rats who were doing the talking. These two teams don’t like each other. Period. However, this may be a preview of what could be a World Series match up if the status quo remains in tact. This feud goes to the South Side at US Cellular (formerly known as Comiskey Park) and the rats will be waiting for Ozzie. Stay tuned.

Hendry getting a bit grumpy with media - If Cubs general manager Jim Hendry gets a bit testy with the media these days, it’s because of questions about Carlos Zambrano’s injury and comparisons to the injury that sidelined Mark Prior and Kerry Wood.

Hendry referred to a report from one of Chicago’s two newspapers that there was some dishonesty with the medical reports. 'Yeah, and I don't take kindly to people that refer to things that happened [and say] the Cubs were dishonest.” He later confronted near the press box and concluded,. I have an issue with that. I always give the writers exactly what the doctors tell us.” Zambrano is on the 15 day DL with a shoulder injury suffered last week in Tampa and will miss his turn in the rotation when the Cubs play Baltimore at Wrigley and travel to US Cellular Field to take on the White Sox this weekend.

Teixeira pulls homer trifecta - If Atlanta Braves first baseman Mark Teixeira is on a salary run, then at least he’s earning his dead presidents. Teixeira was the 14th Atlanta Braves player to hit at least three homers in a game, and the first since Chipper Jones did it in 2006 at Washington (no one has done it twice since the Braves moved to Atlanta).

Bob Horner hit an Atlanta franchise-record four homers in a game against Montreal on July 6, 1986, at old Fulton County Stadium."He's got a lot of RBIs," Cox said of Teixeira, a switch-hitter who ranks among league leaders with 55 RBIs, albeit a relatively quiet 55.

"We've just been waiting for the homer swing to come around, and it sure did today."

Teixeira led off the second and fourth innings with homers off right-hander Carlos Silva (3-9), and hit a two-run shot off lefty Ryan Rowland-Smith in the seventh. Atlanta won the game with Seattle Sunday afternoon 8-3. It was the fourth time in his career Teixeira hit homers from both sides of the plate in the same game, and the 10th time a Braves player did it (Jones has done it six times). Texieira got a curtain call after the third homer, something that Braves fans don’t normally do often. "I heard in Atlanta they don't give them very often," Teixeira told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution after the game. "I feel blessed to have been treated like I have by the fans here." He's eligible for free agency after the season and he's represented by powerful agent Scott Boras. The former Georgia Tech standout has given no indication that he would accept less money to stay in Atlanta than he might get offered by a bigger-market team in New York or elsewhere. "It's easy for the fans to turn on you and say 'Sign now,' " Teixeira said. "But [Atlanta fans] have been great with me. Even when I've had a couple of 0-for [games], they've been supportive."

Krivsky finds new home with Mets - It didn’t take Wayne Krivsky long to find a new gig. The former Reds general manager has landed a new job in the Mets' front office as a special assistant to general manager Omar Minaya. According to the Mets and, Krivsky will remain based out of Cincinnati but he will also travel.

"I'll be doing some scouting before the trade deadline and special assignments in August and September," Krivsky told The Reds were 21 games into this season when he was dismissed on April 23 and replaced by Walt Jocketty. Krivsky became GM in Cincinnati in February 2006. His contract with the Mets runs through October 31 but according to Mets officials, it's quite possible that he could remain with New York

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