We had a chance to talk with 2010 BlueClaws RHP Jonathan Pettibone (follow him on Twitter @Jon_Pettibone) for a pre-spring training Q&A that you can read below.
Pettibone went 8-6, 3.49 with Lakewood in 2010 (2.41 ERA in the second half) and helped the BlueClaws win their second of two straight Sally League titles. Last year, he went 10-11 with Clearwater but only because of a lack of run support. He had a sparkling ERA of just 2.96, 5th best in the Florida State League. Baseball America ranked him 4th in the system, his highest ranking.
How would you assess your season last year? It seemed like you picked up right where you left off? It was the main goal going in, first making Clearwater, and staying healthy, that was a big key for me, but also just doing like I did in 2010 and continuing to attack the hitters and throw all three pitchers for strikes and let my defense do the work.
Were the hitters a lot different, a lot better, at that level? They’re more patient and they won’t chase your out pitch, slider in the dirt or whatever it is. For me, not being a strikeout pitcher, I kind of just went after hitters and made them put the ball in play and get the out from there.
So as you prepare to make the next jump to Double-A, what would you say would be the most important thing for you to do? It’s really just keeping the same approach. I would say I’ve gone after it harder in the weight room and running. For one, they’re going to expect a bunch of innings (he threw 161 last year, 131.1 in 2010), so I’m preparing myself to stay healthy and get through another full season. I’m excited for the new challenge. We’ve heard that’s the biggest jump (Hi-A to AA), and plus I get to hit.
Did you hit in high school? Early in HS I did, but later on just pitched.
Are you excited to hit? Right now I’m kind of scared (chuckle), but once I get a little comfortable, I’ll be ok.
What’s your offseason throwing plan been like? I picked up a baseball in mid-December and light tossed from there. Then I started throwing bullpens about two weeks ago.
What’s the workout regimen been like? At the end of the year, Shawn (Fscani – Phillies minor league strength and conditioning coordinator) gives us a pretty solid program. I’ll throw in a few of my own workouts but I stay on pace on what they want from me each week. The calendar helps guide you to where you need to be leading up to the end of February..
Two of your teammates, Jonathan Singleton and Jarred Cosart, were traded at the deadline. What was that like? It was different. We kind of had an idea it might be coming, at least someone from our team. It was a little easier because of that. But Cosart was my roommate on the road. We were down in Palm Beach, we got the call and then he left the next morning.
What’s your favorite thing to do in the offseason? Play a lot of golf – I play in the season too.
How have you hit them? Let’s not talk about that (laughter). Not that well lately. I’m about a bogey golfer.
Favorite part of your time in Lakewood? Winning the championship, of course. The whole year in general. Winning both halves, but to top it off on the championship, that was the best.
What’s your typical day like in the offseason? Now I’m pretty busy with throwing, running, hitting, lifting. But before, I enjoyed family and friends that I hadn’t seen in awhile, golfing, and a little ping pong.
Your dad played in the big leagues. Has he talked to you about what to expect as you move up? We haven’t really gotten to that point, but the majority of his career was in the minors. I talked to him a lot after my starts on how I feel or how things are going. But we really haven’t crossed the path of what to expect moving up.
You’ve been moving up a lot of the offseason prospect rankings lately. Is that something you pay attention to? I don’t pay attention to it but of course I hear about it. It’s something I try not to get too involved in. I’m not complaining though.
Twitter. How’d you get involved? Last spring training, a bunch of guys, (Jarred) Cosart, (Jiwan) James, were talking about it. And I gave in. I’m not as bad as Jiwan though (laughter).
Thanks to Jon for a few minutes and we wish him best of luck this season.