"It's always been a dream of mine," said Pettibone, who drove with his father from Yorba Linda, Calif., just outside of Anaheim. "I want to get started."
The Phillies drafted the 6-foot, 190-pound right-hander from Esperanza High School with the compensation pick -- 110th overall selection -- given to them after not signing Brandon Workman last year. He passed on a scholarship at Southern California to begin his Phillies career.
That should begin Wednesday, when he's scheduled to report to the team's Minor League complex in Clearwater, Fla. Director of scouting Marti Wolever hopes Pettibone can make a few appearances with the Gulf Coast Phillies before their season ends.
The Phillies paid slightly more than Pettibone's Draft slot, but Wolever is fine with that.
"We extended a little bit more than what we anticipated, but, after observing him down in the bullpen today, it was well worth it," Wolever said. "There's a huge ceiling for him. We've had pretty good luck with [high school pitchers] over the years. We certainly didn't want to lose him."
The Phillies could still lose seventh-rounder Johnny Coy and 12th-rounder James Weber. The team offered Coy, a two-sport standout at Arizona State, the chance to join the organization after the basketball season ends, though he appears to be leaning toward returning to school.
As for Weber, Wolever said, "I wouldn't rule that one out. There's definitely a chance. I'm optimistic."
Pettibone was happy to receive the financial security and also was swayed by a conversation with lefty Cole Hamels, a fellow Southern Californian who signed out of high school.
"I just described what I went through and wished him the best," Hamels said. "It's a difficult choice, the Minor Leagues is a great way to learn, too."
Pettibone received similar advice from his father, Jay, who made four appearances for the Twins in 1983 and played for Phillies manager Charlie Manuel in 1984 in Orlando.
"The [Minor League] season tends to be long, and there are disappointments along with the excitement," said Jay Pettibone, who retired in 1984 and works for the Department of Homeland Security. "Enjoy the marathon, be patient, work hard and enjoy the level you're at."