The 20-year-old shortstop faces something new nearly every game in the big leagues. This time, it was trying to figure out an ambidextrous pitcher.
For Ketel Marte, each day and each game with the Mariners since being recalled from Class AAA Tacoma on July 31 has brought new experiences and teachable moments.
At age 20 and in his first stint at the major-league level, Marte is learning about the difficulties of playing against the best in the world.
Even in his best games, he’s left with questions about certain situations and his successes.
“Every day there is something new for him,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “He’s experiencing a lot of these for the first time.”
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On Monday, Marte wasn’t alone among the Mariners when it came to the first-time experience of facing an ambidextrous pitcher.
In the fifth inning, Pat Venditte, 30, stepped to the mound, armed with his six-finger glove and the ability to throw with either his left or right arm.
He made his MLB debut in early June and had four scoreless relief appearances. An injury to his right arm placed him on the disabled list for an extended period and he was optioned to Class AAA Nashville. He was recalled Aug.15.
On Monday night, he threw two scoreless innings with a strikeout. He alternated between throwing right-handed or left-handed based on who was at bat.
Marte was confused as he prepared to bat in the seventh.
“I saw when he first went to the mound, he was throwing left-handed,” Marte said. “Then when he faced (Mike) Zunino, he threw right-handed. I was like, ‘I don’t know what’s going on here!’ ”
The situation became more odd when Marte finally came to bat. Since Marte’s a switch-hitter, by rule Venditte had to signal to the home-plate umpire which arm he planned to throw with. Venditte chose to throw right-handed against Marte, forcing him to bat from the left side. Marte had been warming up with a right-handed swing.
Marte grounded out to second. Asked which side he would have preferred, Marte said:
“Right hand is more natural for me. I think I have more power righty. I can hit homers more easily right-handed.”
Marte came into Tuesday hitting .311 (23 for 74).
• In the seventh inning of Monday night’s loss to the A’s, Mark Trumbo was charged with an error on a throw that got past cutoff man Marte and second baseman Robinson Cano, who wasn’t covering second base. That allowed Mark Canha to hustle to second and later score on a two-out single.
“I will tell you exactly what happened, McClendon said. “Mark threw the ball over Marte’s head. Marte didn’t jump for it and Robbie was fixing a clump of dirt ’cause he didn’t want a bad hop in that spot and the ball got away.”
So who was at fault?
“Trumbo should have hit the cutoff man, Marte should have jumped and Robbie should have been looking,” McClendon said. “It ain’t the first time it happened in baseball, and it won’t be the last time. “