Phils call on Pettibone for MLB debut Monday

Phils call on Pettibone for MLB debut Monday

PHILADELPHIA -- Right-hander Jonathan Pettibone will be starting, as scheduled, Monday. The only difference is that instead of pitching for Triple-A Lehigh Valley against Buffalo in Allentown, he'll be making his Major League debut for the Phillies against the Pirates at Citizens Bank Park.

Needing a rotation replacement for left-hander John Lannan, who is on the disabled list with a strained left knee, the organization turned to a 22-year-old who was 0-1 with a 9.64 ERA after two starts with the IronPigs.

"I think it lined up well for him. He's a guy who's got stuff. He hasn't pitched great this year yet, but his stuff has been good. The reports about his stuff and competitiveness have been good," said general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. "His command hasn't been great. Hopefully he's got enough weapons and guile to pitch well for us. He's got a pretty good arsenal. We'll see how he competes."

Command will be the key for Pettibone, ranked No. 4 among the Phillies' top prospects by

"He's a pitcher. He's not, I don't think, going to overpower people. He's got to have location, command, be able to get his secondary stuff over the plate," manager Charlie Manuel said. "He was in line to pitch, so that's who we brought up. There are about three guys down there that we think about, but the way the rotation as going, it kind of fell on Pettibone.

"He definitely has a future ahead of him and we had to have somebody to pitch. So we'll see."

Bullpen coach Rod Nichols was his pitching coach at Lehigh Valley at the end of last season.

"He's going to bring good presence. He carries himself extremely well on the mound. He's got four pitches. He's actually got two different sliders and a cutter he throws in there. He's kind of a [Clay] Buchholz-type guy in that he relies on his changeup quite a bit," Nichols said, referring to the Red Sox right-hander. "He has to be throwing strikes with his changeup. That's a big pitch for him."

The hope is that he won't be overwhelmed by the moment. "Because he has that presence, hopefully he knows he's going to belong here. And that's going to be a key," Nichols said.

Part of Pettibone's composure may come from the fact that his father, Jay, pitched for the Twins in 1983 ... and a year later pitched for Manuel at Double-A Charlotte.

Lannan is expected to miss six to eight weeks, but Amaro wouldn't say how long Pettibone will be up or whether he'll get more than one start.

Left-hander Joe Savery was optioned back to Lehigh Valley after the game to make room for Pettibone on the roster.

Paul Hagen is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.