Jennings Gains Perspective From Suspension





JUPITER, Fla. By the time spring training opened, lefthander Dan Jennings estimated he had thrown 25 bullpen sessions. His offseason throwing program began in November, earlier than ever before. The offseason couldn't end soon enough.

Last July 28, Jennings received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for the banned stimulant Methylhexaneamine. Jennings was the first of several players suspended within a two-week span for the same thing.

"It was something you would never think (was banned)," Jennings said. "I bought it, took it for a month, ran out, bought it again, and two months later . . . That's what happens. I'm not going to say I was stupid, but I wasn't smart. For me to find out there was something banned in it would have taken probably a couple of hours of research."

Jennings, 23, would not have to serve the remaining 11 games of his suspension if he makes the big league roster. He's a longshot. Randy Choate, whom the Marlins signed to a two-year free agent deal, and Mike Dunn top the lefty reliever depth chart. Jennings likely will make his major league debut at some point in 2011.

In 37 games for Double-A Jacksonville, Jennings went 4-2, 2.56 with 26 walks and 44 strikeouts in 53 innings. Half of the walks he issued were in April (nine innings). Jennings finished with 13 walks and 32 strikeouts over his final 43 innings.

"When I was at this point last year, things just didn't feel right," Jennings said. "I wouldn't say I felt like I was hurt, just growing pains, feeling like I was trying to get loose. Now I'm completely past that."

Jennings, the Marlins' ninth-round pick in 2008 out of Nebraska, doesn't feel like missing the last month set him back.

"Every day (last offseason) was torture," Jennings said. "All that did for me from a mental standpoint is just make me that much hungrier."

FISH BITES

• Righthander Jose Ceda, who made his major league debut in 2010, perturbed the Marlins by showing up to camp overweight. He did not join his teammates in daily workouts until his conditioning improved.

• An elbow problem ended lefthander Sean West's Arizona Fall League stint after one start. As a result, he arrived to big league camp slightly behind the other pitchers.