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Petricka trying to get comfortable in bullpen role

Petricka trying to get comfortable in bullpen role

Petricka trying to get comfortable in bullpen role play video for Petricka trying to get comfortable in bullpen role

CHICAGO -- It only took five pitches for Jake Petricka to pick up his first career victory in his first career appearance during Thursday night's 4-3 win over the Royals in 12 innings. That effort, which involved inducing an inning-ending double play from Salvador Perez, earned him the game ball, the lineup card and a beer shower that basically ruined his cleats.

Pitching in that game-on-the-line situation stands as part of the learning curve for the second-round pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, who had been exclusively used as a starter until moving into the bullpen for Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte during the 2013 season. Now, Petricka is being talked about as a potential member of the 2014 White Sox relief crew, although he isn't ready to make such a bold leap.

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"I'm just going to try to get comfortable up here and hopefully stick it out," Petricka said. "It's still my first year of relief, and I understand maybe they want more time down in the Minors. We'll just take it as it goes.

"I struggled a little bit at the start. I kind of went into the games in relief still a little around 90-92 [mph] range. I wasn't going at people 100 percent. I had to sit down with the pitching coach [Britt Burns] and manager [Julio Vinas] at Double-A, and they said, 'You need to start going after hitters. You're out there for one inning, it's time to get after them right away.' Once I made that transition, I had some good results."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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