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Ceda could factor in Marlins' bullpen equation

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JUPITER, Fla. -- A key contributor to the bullpen may end up being someone who missed all of last year due to injury.

Jose Ceda, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, is throwing without restrictions, and he could factor into the bullpen equation.

"There is a chance to break camp with the big league team," Ceda said.

Voluntary minicamp for the Marlins started on Monday at the team's Spring Training complex at Roger Dean Stadium.

A year ago, Ceda was making a case to earn a bullpen spot on the Opening Day roster. In 7 1/3 innings over five Grapefruit League appearances, he posted a 1.23 ERA, with eight strikeouts and two walks. But late in Spring Training, during an outing against the Braves, Ceda experienced discomfort in his elbow. He underwent surgery on April 12.

Now healthy, the 26-year-old is heading into Spring Training looking to make an impact.

"I feel really good," Ceda said.

Ceda, who admits that his arm felt a little sore for most of Spring Training in 2012, began throwing off the mound last week, and he has bullpen sessions scheduled for Tuesday and Friday.

"I'm getting stronger," he said.

Because Ceda didn't pitch at all in 2012, he may not be fully ready to contribute at the start of the season. He has one more option, though, so the Marlins could send him to the Minor Leagues if he needs more time to get sharp.

Ceda could be a candidate to start the campaign at extended spring camp to get some innings, then head to Triple-A New Orleans. He appeared in 17 games for Miami in 2011, and posted a 4.43 ERA in 20 1/3 innings. That same year, Ceda went 3-1 with a 1.36 ERA in 36 games at New Orleans. He struck out 53 and walked 13 in 39 2/3 innings.

Miami's pitchers and catchers begin workouts on Feb. 12, and full-squad drills begin on Feb. 15.

Among the pitchers at Monday's minicamp were Ceda, Justin Nicolino, Dan Jennings, Steve Cishek, Tom Koehler, Alex Sanabia, Evan Reed and Anthony DeSclafani. Position players in attendance included Juan Pierre and Alfredo Silverio.

Outfielder Silverio, 25, is an interesting player, selected by Miami in December's Rule 5 Draft. Formerly with the Dodgers, he is a five-tool-caliber player who is battling back after being involved in a serious auto accident last January.

"I feel back to normal," Silverio said after taking batting practice and going through fielding drills.

In Double-A in 2011, Silverio batted .306 with 16 homers and 85 RBIs. He had been working out on the Dominican Republic.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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