Indians select switch pitcher on final day of MLB draft

Oakland A's pitcher Pat Venditte can pitch with either his right or left arm, making him a potentially valuable player. The Indians drafted another 'switch-pitcher' on Wednesday.

Ed Szczepanski/Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

CLEVELAND — After Oakland’s Pat Venditte made his major-league debut last week, Indians manager Terry Francona said that one of his dream scenarios would be to have an ambidextrous pitcher.

During Thursday’s final day of the MLB Draft, the Indians took a step toward that happening, taking Ryan Perez in the 12th round.

"How, about that? Churny (assistant general manager Mike Chernoff) sent me a note today, I thought he was kidding," Francona said. "He might not even go to the Minor Leagues (laughing and smiling). I don’t care if he gets anyone out, just the idea that he can go both sides. I thought they were messing with me."

Perez played at Judson University, which is an NAIA school in suburban Chicago. This past season he was 4-1 with three saves and a 4.61 ERA in 12 games, including three starts. Perez struck out 33 and allowed 16 walks. He was the MVP in the Cape Cod League All-Star Game last year.

Indians Director of Scouting Brad Grant said that scouts saw a couple of Perez’s games, where he would start as a left-hander, go five innings and then pitch the final two right-handed.

"The left-handed side is further advanced," Grant said. "He can throw up to 90 miles per hour from both sides and has a good breaking ball."

Perez, 21, is likely to start the season at Short-A Mahoning Valley.