Friday, February 12, 2016

Pettibone says it's "game on" after 'pen session

Jonathan Pettibone received a cortisone shot on Feb. 17 after experiencing shoulder discomfort. But he declared himself ready to return to active duty following a side session on Friday morning.

Pettibone says it's "game on" after 'pen session

Phillies pitcher Jonathan Pettibone. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)
Phillies pitcher Jonathan Pettibone. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)

One young pitcher wore street clothes, off to see the doctor on Friday morning after experiencing shoulder discomfort less than 24 hours earlier. The general manager patted him on the back and wished him well.

Less than 50 feet away, another young righthander stepped on the mound for the first time in more than a week.

The Phillies already-thin starting pitching depth received a hit on Thursday, when Ethan Martin left a game in Dunedin after facing just four hitters. The team should have an update on his status later today.

But it was at least a little encouraging for the Phillies when Jonathan Pettibone, who has been sidelined since the first few days of camp, threw a 20-pitch bullpen session and declared himself ready to return to regular work.

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"Game on," a confident Pettibone said afterward.

Pettibone entered camp as one of the few pitchers competing for the fifth spot in the starting rotation.

Veteran free agent Roberto Hernandez is the heavy favorite for the spot. Cuban rookie Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez is also in the mix. Beyond that, the crop of potential candidates is very thin.

As long as he continues to progress pain free, Pettibone is probably in the same place as Cole Hamels with March rapidly approaching: about two weeks away from appearing in a game, and thus, two weeks behind the rest of the pitchers in camp.

But Pettibone believes after a couple more side sessions and facing hitters, he'll be game ready. He thinks he'll be major league-ready by the first week of April, too.

"Arm felt good," Pettibone said. "I think we're back on track."

David Buchanan, Jeff Manship and Sean O'Sullivan are also in camp as potential starting pitchers. The Phillies are also stretching B.J. Rosenberg out some this spring to have flexibility.

Buchanan is scheduled to start in Tampa tomorrow against the New York Yankees. He'll be opposed by former Cy Young Award winner CC Sabathia.

Gonzalez had originally been on tap to start the game for the Phillies, but is now scheduled to follow Buchanan in relief.


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