Is Jonathan Pettibone the right choice for the Philadelphia Phillies?


Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Jonathan Pettibone will be the starting pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies for tonight’s game against the Miami Marlins? But was he really the best man for the job?

Heading into Spring Training, Pettibone was thought to have an outside chance at earning a rotation spot. At the very least, they figured he’d provide some quality depth in the rotation. But an re-occurrence of his 2013 shoulder injury quickly took him out of the running.

In his absence, less heralded contenders like Jeff Manship and David Buchanan made strong impressions, and it looked like one of them might get the call when the Phillies finally required a fifth starter. But Manship – who made the team as a reliever out of Spring Training – is probably not currently stretched out enough to serve as a starter. And Buchanan, who has continued to pitch well as a starter in the minors, is not on the 40-man roster.

If the team wanted to call up Buchanan, they’d have to drop someone from their 40 man roster, and risk losing that player. Normally, that might be a risky move, but if the team were to drop Luis Garcia, would that really be such a loss? If they’re making this decision because they don’t want to risk losing Luis Garcia, then I have to really question their decision-making.

Perhaps he team has simply decided that Pettibone has progressed enough in his recovery and he is truly the best option. I understand why the team wanted to use him. He’s a home-grown talent, and showed some glimpses of potential last season. Many scouts speculate that he could eventually be a more than serviceable back of the rotation starter for a major league team.

My main concern is that Pettibone won’t be able to last that long in the game. Even when he was pitching well in 2013, he didn’t pitch especially deep into games. He only averaged a little over five innings per start. And in his one minor league start, he only lasted five innings.

The fewer innings that the starter goes, the more they will have to rely on the bullpen. And as we’ve seen this season, that has not been a recipe for success.

In other words, we should probably hope that the Phillies offense has a good night.