NEW BRITAIN - New Britain Bees starting pitcher Jonathan Pettibone has had a whirlwind of a career.
Previously a promising 22-year-old rookie with the Philadelphia Phillies, Pettibone’s seen both the good and the bad.
Now pitching for the Bees in the Atlantic League, getting back to affiliated ball is his goal. Every time he toes the rubber, Pettibone is fighting for a spot back in a Major League organization.
“I was on top of the world and two years later I was basically out of baseball, so I just kind of appreciate the time I’ve been with the Bees and been able to get back on the mound with everything I’ve been through,” Pettibone said.
Lack of talent was never an issue with Pettibone. In 2008, the Phillies selected the left-hander in the third round of the MLB draft out of Esperanza High School in California.
“He commands his fastball very well,” Bees catcher James Skelton said. “He’s predominantly a fastball pitcher. He mixes it in and out. He also throws a cutter, slider and a changeup.”
Pettibone debuted in 2013 with the Phillies after seeing success in their farm system, going 5-4 that season with a 4.04 ERA over 18 starts.
His rookie season was the product of a young pitcher with great potential, but his season ended early after suffering a shoulder injury.
He pitched just two more games with the Phillies in 2014, letting up nine runs in nine innings.
Since then, Pettibone has had two shoulder surgeries that held him out of the game for a couple seasons.
The Chicago Cubs took a chance on him in 2016, but he was released shortly into the season because he still wasn’t healthy.
A year later with the Bees, Pettibone has showed signs that he is near where he once was health wise and the results have come with it.
“Getting to 100 innings and making sure I’m out there every five days and throwing five innings [is my goal],” Pettibone said.
Outside of a few rough starts, Pettibone has been consistent for the Bees. His 4.60 ERA is not suggestive of the season he has had.
In three of his starts since June 27, Pettibone has given up six or more earned runs.
Other than those three, Pettibone has given up two earned runs or less and has thrown two shutouts.
“He has a great chance to get back to affiliated ball,” New Britain Bees manager Stan Cliburn said. “He’s had a tough road with the surgeries, but he’s getting healthy.”
At just 27, Pettibone is at the prime age for a pitcher.
“Realistically, I just wanted to get back into the game and show teams that I’m healthy again,” Pettibone said.
Time will tell whether or not Pettibone gets another chance to play professional baseball. For now, time is on his side and being successful with the Bees is his main focus.
Dan Orencole can be reached at 860-973-1811, or firstname.lastname@example.org On Twitter: @OrencoleDan