After missing time with a forearm injury, Jake Petricka still isn’t entirely up to speed in terms of mechanics and feeling sharp.
The day after he made his 2015 debut, the White Sox reliever said he’s healthy and in a good spot. He just needs a little more fine-tuning.
Petricka -- who had 14 saves and a 2.96 ERA in 2014 -- threw balls on nine of his 18 pitches in a scoreless inning on Wednesday, walking one batter and giving up a hit.
“Normal soreness so it’s a great feeling,” Petricka said. “Just got to get back in the groove from last year.”
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One part of Wednesday’s appearance had flashes of 2014 as Petricka got out of trouble with a double play. He induced 12 double plays last season, which was tied for third-most among American League relievers. But Petricka also felt like his mechanics aren’t quite where he prefers.
Manager Robin Ventura expects that given Petricka missed the end of spring training and had only faced hitters twice before Wednesday. That’s why he wanted to Petricka to pitch for the first time with a big cushion.
“Yesterday you’re making sure to get him in there to see what it looks like,” Ventura said. “You can see he was a bit erratic at first and that’s the stuff you would go through in spring training and he hadn’t had all that many appearances. You’re kind of feeling it out as you go.”
“It’s not as smooth as he normally is when he goes out there. But at the end you saw some of the swings that guys had … It was more like what you’re used to seeing with him so it was a good adjustment.”
Petricka watches film after every game. He noticed a slight difference from Wednesday, a “small fix” he intends to make with pitching coach Don Cooper.
“There’s a little pause yesterday,” Petricka said. “Take away the pause and it will probably fix everything else. Little things like that.
“I just have to find that groove I had last year and I know everything else will take care of itself.”