Jonathan Pettibone’s shoulder is sore -- again

Jonathan Pettibone’s shoulder is sore -- again
February 16, 2014, 3:00 pm
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Jonathan Pettibone made 18 starts for the Phillies in 2013 before being shut down with soreness in his right shoulder. (USA Today Images)

CLEARWATER, Fla. – Overshadowed by the unveiling of A.J. Burnett and the arrival of Bobby Abreu was this important and troubling bit of news from Phillies camp Sunday:

Jonathan Pettibone is experiencing soreness in his pitching shoulder again. He did not throw his scheduled bullpen session Sunday.

“It’s been bothering him,” general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “We just want to be cautious.

“Hopefully it’s nothing big, but it could be. Who knows?”

Pettibone, 23, made 18 starts for the Phillies in 2013 before being shut down with soreness in his right shoulder.

“This is similar, but not as severe,” Amaro said. “Hopefully he’ll be able to throw his next bullpen.”

Pettibone described feeling tightness in his shoulder as he increased the intensity of recent bullpen sessions.

“Hopefully I’ll be back in a few days,” he said.

Pettibone spent much of the fall and winter rehabbing his shoulder in Clearwater. He said he felt "great" during a visit to Philadelphia last month.

Pettibone said this problem feels similar to what he felt before going on the disabled list last year.

“It’s kind of the early stages of what happened last year,” he said. “So it’s good that we stop it early and jump on some anti-inflammatories and hopefully get it before it gets too serious.”

Pettibone’s setback is a potential blow to the Phillies’ already thin starting pitching depth. Cole Hamels is already behind schedule after dealing with offseason shoulder tendinitis and he could miss a couple of starts in April. Burnett, Cliff Lee, Kyle Kendrick and Roberto Hernandez will be the top four guys while Hamels gets straightened out. Pettibone and Miguel Gonzalez had been set to compete for a rotation spot. Now Pettibone is a question mark and no one seems to know whether Gonzalez will be ready for major-league duty in April. Gonzalez hasn’t exactly made jaws drop in his early bullpen workouts.

After Gonzalez, the Phillies' starting pitching reinforcements include Ethan Martin and non-roster pitchers Jeff Manship and Sean O’Sullivan.

Already this spring, the Phillies lost some pitching depth when Chad Gaudin, who made 12 starts for San Francisco last season, was released after failing his physical.