The clock continues to tick for the arrival of Spring Training. It seems as if Philadelphia Phillies have four out of five pitchers set in their rotation. Cole Hamels, Roberto Hernandez, Kyle Kendrick and Cliff Lee have all locked up spots. The final spot is going to come down to newly-inquired Miguel Gonzalez or Jonathan Pettibone. Can Pettibone keep the spot he earned in 2013?
Pettibone started 2013 in the minors and probably was not expected to come up to the Phillies so soon. He got called up to the majors in late April when John Lannan got injured. Pettibone earned his spot in the rotation for most of the season until he suffered a shoulder injury himself.
I believe that if Pettibone is healthy, then he deserves the spot. He came in when the team needed him and got the job done. His ERA was 4.04. That is high for a starter, but his shoulder could have had something to do with that. In 18 starts, his record was 5-4. Pettibone had 66 strikeouts and only gave up nine home runs.
Pettibone is only 23-years old and already has the experience in pitching half the season in mhe Majors. Most 23-year-olds are still growing in the minors. Pettibone can continue to develop, but the Phillies can still use his talent. The team also really does not know what to expect from Gonzalez. He is coming from Cuba and no one knows what type of pitcher he is. It is going to be a surprise come February.
Right now, my decision would be to let Pettibone have the fifth spot. That could turn into a hard decision when Gonzalez shows what he has. I’m sure it will be a great fight to the finish.