GLENDALE, Ariz. — Right-hander Jake Petricka will likely start the season on the disabled list, general manager Rick Hahn said Monday.
Petricka, a key piece to the Sox bullpen, has been sidelined with a sore arm. Hahn said it’s possible Petricka would be back as soon as April 11 following a retroactive move to the DL.
“Hopefully it’s just a small setback,” Hahn said.
“All the films are coming back clean, it’s a matter of him feeling 100 percent comfortable and getting him back throwing off a mound and in outings before we activate him.”
Petricka’s issue is in the elbow/forearm area.
“I feel like I’m letting everyone down just not being able to go out there and do my job,” Petricka said Sunday after tossing the ball at no more than 90 feet Sunday morning. “I came in in great shape. Maybe I got a little too amped up in those live BPs, getting a taste of the season again, and threw too hard.
“Let’s get healthy before we get out there,” he said. “If we’re not healthy out there at the start later in the year it could come back as something way worse than what it is now. Right now it’s a minor ailment and let’s figure it out now.”
In his first full season in 2014, Petricka, 26, pitched to a 2.96 ERA over 67 appearances and 73 innings. With the bullpen in disarray, Petricka moved into the closer’s role down the stretch and collected 14 saves. This season, he is expected to be a primary right-handed setup man with David Robertson taking over closer duty. Robertson has also been sore and sidelined, but he pitched a scoreless inning Sunday and is rounding back to form.
The Sox will go to Kansas City for their opener next Monday without Chris Sale (foot), although the ace lefty might miss only one start. Adding an important piece of their bullpen like Petricka to the unable to perform list was one of the last things they needed as they start the season with 18 straight games against AL Central foes. But it could turn out to be a short stint on the DL.
“We could have forced the issue and had him eligible on Opening Day,” Hahn said. “If we really are talking about four games it’s better to get everything right now before we activate him. And if it turns out to be more than four days then it wouldn’t have been right to push him. Let’s err this way and figure it out once he’s feeling better.”