Threshers Spotlight: Andrew Pullin

Former Switch-Pitcher at Ease in the Outfield

By Kirsten Karbach / Clearwater Threshers | April 24, 2015 1:15 PM ET

Andrew Pullin is used to switching roles.

At Centralia High School in Centralia, Washington, Pullin was a rarity. He not only stood out for his offensive prowess - he was also a switch-pitcher.

When a righty stepped in the box against Pullin, he would deal from his natural right-handed side.

If a lefty stepped in, he could turn around, flip his six-finger glove to the opposite hand, and pitch to the batter as a southpaw.

"I think in high school I was around 80 miles an hour left-handed, and about 90 right handed," Pullin says.

The discovery happened about four years prior to his high school days.

"I was, I want to say 10 or 11, and I was playing catch and we had a left-handed glove and not a right-handed glove," Pullin says. "So I tried putting it on and I started playing catch left-handed and it was natural, so I just kept doing it."

Switch-pitchers are an odd commodity. Currently, Pat Venditte of the Oakland Athletics system is the only ambidextrous pitcher in professional baseball.

Yet, back when Pullin was in high school, he had the opportunity to play alongside another prospect who also had the ability to deal from either side.

Fellow Washington-native Drew Vettleson, now an outfielder in the Washington Nationals' farm system, served as a switch-pitcher for Central Kitsap High School in Bremerton Washington. While Vettleson was two grades older, he and Pullin had the chance to play on the same summer ball squad.

"For a time when he was a senior and I think I was a sophomore, we played on the same summer ball team, and we actually pitched in the same game - both hands," Pullin says. "I think I pitched six innings and he finished up the last one or two innings.

"It was great. We won, and it was pretty cool..I doubt that's ever happened before."

Pullin, now 21, was ultimately drafted by Philadelphia as an outfielder in the fifth round in 2012.

Toward the end of 2012, he was asked to make the switch to second base, an entirely new position for the young prospect. Pullin served as a second baseman for short-season Williamsport in 2013, and played 123 games for Low-A Lakewood last season at second, but committed 26 errors last year as he adapted to the infield.

This season, the Phillies asked Pullin to make the flip back to the outfield as he began his first season with the Clearwater Threshers.

"It's an easier transition than going from the outfield to the infield, so I'm just trying to get back into the swing of things," Pullin says. "I've played it my whole life, so it's easier than moving from the infield."

"He was an outfielder out of high school, so we kinda put him back to where he's most comfortable" manager Greg Legg says. "He's real happy right now, he's in a good spot."

As far as work ethic, Legg has had nothing but praise for Pullin's efforts.

"He's not going to leave anything unturned in hows he's going to accomplish what he wants to accomplish," Legg says. "Nobody's going to outwork him."

 

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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