CLEARWATER, Fla. — Jonathan Pettibone leaned against a wall with Cole Hamels and Mike Adams while their pitching group threw bullpen sessions Sunday. It was a foreboding sign later confirmed by general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.
There is soreness in Pettibone's right shoulder, a concern early in spring because the same injury cost Pettibone the last two months of his rookie season in 2013.
"We don't want to mess with him," Amaro said. "We backed him off. It's something similar to what he had last year. We're just trying to nip it in the bud. He had some soreness so we decided to slow him down."
Pettibone threw bullpens for two or three weeks in Florida before the soreness recurred. He figures to be the odd man out in the rotation picture, but a spot could be needed during the first few weeks of April while Hamels continues to build arm strength following a biceps tendinitis injury.
The Phillies do not possess extensive starting-pitching depth. Pettibone, 23, made 18 starts last season with a 4.04 ERA.
Have a question? Send it to Matt Gelb's Mailbag.