EL notes: Pettibone adding punch

Righty hasn't been overshadowed in Reading's stellar rotation

By David Driver / Special to MLB.com | June 5, 2012 6:21 AM ET

The Reading Phillies have been buoyed this season by a 6-foot-5 right-handed starter from the West Coast who was a high Draft pick in 2008.

Though that description fits Trevor May, the No. 1 prospect in the Philadelphia organization, Jonathan Pettibone has also made a successful jump to Double-A in 2012 after being part of the same staff with May last year at Class A Advanced Clearwater of the Florida State League.

"We were drafted together and have gone through the ranks. We are pretty good friends on and off the field," said Pettibone, who was roommates with May during a recent road trip to Harrisburg.

Pettibone was a third-round pick by the Phillies out of Esperanza High in California who turned down a scholarship offer to the University of Southern California.

"I don't have any regrets. I made the right decision," said Pettibone, the No. 9 prospect in the Philadelphia system. "Playing professional baseball was always my goal."

He throws a fastball that has touched 93 with a solid changeup and slider.

He was teammates briefly with May in the Gulf Coast League in 2008 and again with Class A Lakewood in 2010.

Pettibone was 4-4 with an ERA of 3.26 in his first 10 starts this season for Reading. One of best starts came May 25 at Harrisburg when he allowed just one run -- on a solo homer -- on eight hits over 8 2/3 innings in a win over the Senators. He walked just one and struck out five.

"It was kind of funny. I started off slow, command-wise. I struggled early with fastball command. Then, in the fourth inning, I got into my groove. My fastball command picked up and I went from there," he said.

But in his next start, May 31 against Binghamton, he gave up seven earned runs in six innings in a loss.

Pettibone said earlier this season he relied a lot on his two-seam fastball but fell behind many hitters.

"I then went back to my strength, which is my four-seam fastball, which I did a lot last year. It has helped me since then," he said.

Pettibone was 10-11 with an ERA of 2.96 in 27 starts last year for Clearwater. In 161 innings he allowed 149 hits with 115 strikeouts and 34 walks. In games through Sunday he was 4-5 with an ERA of 4.15 and had allowed 67 hits and 21 walks with 41 strikeouts.

He has spent his entire pro career on the East Coast after growing up in California. Pettibone said being a long way from home has been an adjustment, but he's teamed up with May to give Reading a strong one-two punch.

In brief

Hoes no longer at home: L.J. Hoes, who grew up near Bowie, was promoted from the Baysox to Triple-A Norfolk on June 1. The 22-year-old outfielder hit .265 with two homers and 16 RBIs in 196 at-bats for Bowie.

Long day: Trenton and New Hampshire played 29 innings in a doubleheader Saturday as the Thunder secured a pair walk-off wins, 3-2 and 6-5. Jose Pirela's 14th-inning home run gave Thunder manager Tony Franklin his 1,000th career victory in the opener, and outfielder Shane Brown's RBI base hit in the 15th secured the sweep in front of 6,237 fans at Waterfront Park.

On a tear: Trenton's Cody Johnson clubbed five homers over a 10-game span through Saturday to give him a league-high 15 on the season. The 23-year-old designated hitter was a first-round pick of the Braves in 2006.

David Driver is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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