Cole Hamels drew most of the attention this morning when he threw some pitches and felt “really good.” But there was another rehabbing pitcher who threw today, and he might turn out to be more crucial to the Phillies’ chances in April than Hamels.
We’ve been busy debating Hamels’ status and who will replace him in the Phillies rotation, and now it seems that a new candidate for that job may have emerged: Jonathan Pettibone. Everyone wrote off Pettibone a few weeks ago when he was shut down with shoulder pain. But after successfully pitching a batting practice session today, he might be considered a dark horse to be part of the Phillies’ rotation in April.
According to Ryan Lawrence, Pettibone was feeling strong after the BP session, and should be ready to take part in an exhibition game in a few days.
Pettibone is still behind schedule, and probably will have to start the season on the disabled list. But due to off days in the schedule, the Phillies won’t require a fifth starter until two weeks into the season. Is it possible that Pettibone could be ready by that time?
The Phillies would probably like to see Pettibone to seize that role. While some of the other candidates have looked sharp this spring, Pettibone might be the most “known” quality. He came up through their system, he has a decent pedigree, and performed well when forced into the rotation last season.
At the very least, a healthy Pettibone would improve the team’s frightfully thin pitching depth. Considering that the Phillies’ pitchers can’t seem to stay healthy (and we’re not even done with Spring Training!) that is a very positive development.