Pettibone progresses after cortisone injection

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Phillies right-hander Jonathan Pettibone said he took a step forward Friday morning with his first bullpen session following a cortisone injection in his right shoulder Feb. 17.

"Arm felt good," he said afterward. "I think we're back on track. That was like the first stepping stone, and [we] cleared that. Now it's, 'Game on.'"

Pettibone, who finished last season on the disabled list because of shoulder inflammation, said his shoulder has felt fine since the injection.

"Once I got the cortisone, I was feeling smoother and kind of fresh," he said. "In the week leading up, everything felt fine. So I'm staying positive."

It is unlikely Pettibone could be ready to pitch by the beginning of the season, but he said he is hopeful he could be ready the first week of April.

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