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Pettibone experiences right shoulder tightness

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Ryne Sandberg said Sunday there is an open competition for the fifth spot in the Phillies rotation.

But the Phillies suddenly have reason to be concerned with one of those competitors.

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Right-hander Jonathan Pettibone did not throw his scheduled bullpen session Sunday because of what he called tightness in his right shoulder, the same issue that had him on the disabled list to finish last season.

"Well, it's kind of the early stages of what happened last year, so it's good that we stopped it early and jump on some anti-inflammatories and hopefully get it before it gets too serious," Pettibone said.

Pettibone went 5-4 with a 4.04 ERA in 18 starts last season. He said he started to feel discomfort in the shoulder during his last couple bullpen sessions.

"When I started to ramp up and kind of crank on it, I started to feel it a little," he said. "I think we're going to kind of play it by ear for now."

No MRI is currently scheduled.

It could become an issue because Cole Hamels said he expects to miss the beginning of the season following discomfort in his left shoulder. Hamels' absence would leave Cliff Lee, A.J. Burnett, Kyle Kendrick and Roberto Hernandez in the top four spots of the rotation. The fifth spot would be a competition among Pettibone, Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, Ethan Martin, Sean O'Sullivan and Jeff Manship.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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