marlins notebook

Miami Marlins pitcher Dan Jennings expects to return soon from scary line-drive hit

 
 
Miami Marlins relief pitcher Dan Jennings waves as he is driven off the field after being hit by a line drive off the bat of Pittsburgh Pirates' Jordy Mercer during the seventh inning in Pittsburgh on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014.
Miami Marlins relief pitcher Dan Jennings waves as he is driven off the field after being hit by a line drive off the bat of Pittsburgh Pirates' Jordy Mercer during the seventh inning in Pittsburgh on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014.
Gene J. Puskar / AP

cspencer@MiamiHerald.com

Dan Jennings can’t wait to get back on the mound.

But the Marlins’ left-handed reliever, who was struck in the head by a line drive in Pittsburgh last week, acknowledged that there could be some trepidation at first.

“Even just playing catch and seeing a ball come at me, it’s a little frightening,” Jennings said Thursday in his first public comments since sustaining his frightening injury. “I wouldn’t be surprised if I get back on the mound and the first fastball I throw, if I throw a bad pitch, to [put] my glove up on guard.”

Jennings, who is on the seven-day concussion list, is no longer experiencing post-concussion symptoms and said he is pleased with how quickly the recovery has gone.

“I feel pretty normal which, all things considered, is a shock, a surprise and a relief,” he said. “I feel like I can function and do everything that I was able to do before.”

Jennings said he was extremely pleased by the outpouring of support.

“I’ve always viewed Twitter as a negative because it’s an easy way for a lot of fans out there to get a hold of you, and everybody’s a tough guy on Twitter,” he said. “They can say whatever they want, and it’s really shocking some of the stuff people say. But this is really the first time I’ve seen what an incredible outlet it can be in a positive manner. I really received nothing but praise … and wishes and prayers.”

Jennings said there is no timetable for his return but doesn’t expect it to be far off.

“I’m incredibly, incredibly fortunate it was just a concussion, and I can move forward,” he said. “I’m still able to play this year. The first thought that goes through your head is, ‘My year’s over.’ It’s going to be great that I’ll be able to get back on the mound and put it behind me before the offseason starts, because I can’t imagine dwelling over this for five or six months.”

an awful august

It has been a tough month for Marcell Ozuna, who was 4 for 39 while striking out 15 times in August entering Thursday’s game. Marlins hitting coach Frank Menechino said he thinks he knows the reason why Ozuna has been struggling.

“Ozuna got caught up in a little bit of swinging too hard,” Menechino said. “He was trying to kill the ball. He was working out in front of the plate, and his contact point changed. So now he’s working on trying to let the ball get deeper, and the last two days it’s been better.”

Since the All-Star break, Ozuna is hitting just .170 and has struck out 34 times in 88 at-bats.

• It’s official: Rafael Furcal is done for the season. Marlins manager Mike Redmond said Furcal will undergo surgery on his hamstring next week to remove scar tissue.

Furcal, who the Marlins signed to a $3.5 million deal, thinking he would be their every-day second baseman, has spent pretty much the entire season on the disabled list with leg injuries. He appeared in only nine games and hit .171.

COMING UP

•  Friday: Marlins LHP Brad Hand (2-4, 4.65 ERA) vs. Arizona Diamondbacks RHP Trevor Cahill (2-8, 4.86), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.

•  Saturday: Marlins RHP Henderson Alvarez (8-5, 2.48) vs. Diamondbacks LHP Wade Miley (7-8, 4.61), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.

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