Roseville pitcher can boast: Look Dad, both hands

Senior Marcus Garcia is a rarity — an ambidextrous pitcher
By: Trevor Horn/Roseville Press Tribune Correspondent
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It all started with an innocent game of catch between father and son 10 years ago.

When Roseville High School senior pitcher Marcus Garcia was 7, he and dad Thomas were in the backyard tossing a baseball back and forth. Garcia, a natural right-handed thrower, grabbed the ball with his left hand and tossed it back to dad with more velocity than he anticipated.

“He picked it up left-handed and started to throw with it,” Thomas said. “It’s been like that ever since.”

Garcia is an ambidextrous pitcher. He has the ability to throw with velocity and accuracy with both hands.

It’s as rare as it sounds. There is one such pitcher currently in professional baseball. Pat Venditte plays for the Triple-A affiliate of the New York Yankees.

Hank DeMello said he has heard all kinds of unwarranted hype about players over the years. So when Roseville’s 11-year head coach said he did a double take the first time he saw Garcia throw with both hands, it came with intrigue and amazement.

“Marcus comes out his first day and we see (him) throw with his left,” DeMello said. “I go and talk to a coach and I see him throw with his right and I go, ‘Huh? Was that left? But he is throwing left after just throwing right.’ It was weird because you had to do a double check.”

DeMello has been hesitant to allow Garcia to utilize both hands in a game in his two years at the varsity level because he’s more effective as a left-hander and DeMello said having a quality southpaw is “a commodity you just don’t get very often.”

Garcia knows he has an extra tool and would like to use it more often. However, the senior sides on the betterment of his team over self.

“I would like to both ways in a game, but we are trying to get wins out here,” Garcia said.

He did throw right-handed to a couple batters late in a start against El Camino on March 7 and warms up with both hands before every start. Garcia uses a special six-finger glove that fits on either hand.

Garcia was able to show off his switch-pitching skills for professional scouts while turning heads.

“I did it … for scout ball for the Tampa Bay Rays, and their faces were amazed, asking, ‘Did he switch?’ It was pretty cool,” Garcia said.

Garcia pitched a gem for five innings against Granite Bay on Tuesday before giving up three runs, only one of which was earned, over six innings in a loss.

His dad even likes to mess with Garcia away from the diamond because of his gift.

“Once in a while at home, I will put his fork on the opposite side,” Thomas said. “He doesn’t even notice.”