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Pettibone excited to compete for rotation spot

Right-hander in the running to be Phillies' No. 5 starter along with Gonzalez

PHILADELPHIA -- Jonathan Pettibone will find himself in a much different and much better place when Spring Training opens next month.

Pettibone will have a chance to win a job in the Phillies' starting rotation, rather than simply hope to impress a few coaches and executives like last spring. The Phils enter Spring Training with Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Kyle Kendrick and Roberto Hernandez locks for the rotation. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said he expects Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez and Pettibone to compete for the No. 5 spot, with Ethan Martin and Chad Gaudin also getting work as starters.

"Last year, going in, they kind of had their rotation set," Pettibone said Thursday. "I was just going in to get my feet wet. You just wanted to show them what you can do, and hopefully get that call, which ended up happening last year."

Pettibone went 5-4 with a 4.04 ERA in 18 starts last season before he finished on the disabled list because of inflammation in his right shoulder. He said he feels 100 percent and will not be held back when pitchers and catchers hold their first official workout Feb. 13 at Carpenter Complex in Clearwater, Fla.

"I'm healthy," Pettibone said. "I've been training and preparing and getting the arm strength back."

The battle for the No. 5 job should be interesting. Amaro recently has downplayed Gonzalez, despite the fact the Phillies signed him to a $12 million deal. The fact Gonzalez has that contract gives him an edge over the competition, although if he does not appear ready, it does not seem like the Phils will force him into that spot.

"It's going to be fun," Pettibone said. "Competition brings out the best in players, so I'm looking forward to that."

Pettibone and Gonzalez already have been throwing in Clearwater.

"He's been good," Pettibone said. "It's been fun working out with him and throwing with him."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for

Philadelphia Phillies, Jonathan Pettibone