MIA@SD: Rodriguez hurls scoreless frame in 2014 debut

SAN DIEGO -- If Henry Rodriguez can throw enough consistent strikes, the Marlins may have found an answer in their bullpen.

It's a big if, though.

The 27-year-old right-hander from Venezuela remains intriguing because of his overpowering fastball. But he's had issues finding the strike zone.

At Triple-A New Orleans, Rodriguez mixed dominance with occasional wild streaks in 19 1/3 innings. His top fastball reading with the Zephyrs was 101 mph, and he struck out a whopping 37 in 19 1/3 innings. But he also walked 23.

Still, Rodriguez showed enough to prompt the Marlins to select his contract on Sunday morning. Rodriguez fills the roster spot vacated when Carlos Marmol was designated for assignment.

"We think the time Rodriguez spent in the Minor Leagues, we got a little more consistency," president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "We all saw the stuff, but we also saw it could be a little inconsistent. But he's coming off some solid outings in a row. We felt it was time to take a look."

Rodriguez threw three innings on Tuesday, striking out four with no walks. His last appearance before that was on May 3, and he struck out five and walked four in two innings.

Rodriguez last appeared in the big leagues in 2013 with the Cubs and Nationals. In 22 games, he walked 20 in 22 innings and struck out 12.

Rodriguez does have 148 games of MLB experience, and he's struck out 150 and walked 102 in 148 2/3 innings.

Entering the season, the Marlins were hopeful Marmol could emerge in a setup role. He was part of the plan to cover the seventh and eighth innings. But he struggled with an 8.10 ERA in 13 1/3 innings, and after he gave up four runs in the sixth inning to the Padres on Saturday night, he became expendable.

"We felt like we did a pretty thorough job following him through winter ball," Hill said. "We saw like every winter ball outing. His delivery had calmed down. His lines were more on line, and everything was working at the plate. We saw that early in Spring Training. I don't know if the competition got to him, but he reverted back to the same guy."

The fact Marmol's mechanics were again off prompted the club to make the move to part ways.

"It's unfortunate because he's a great guy," Hill said. "I thought it was a good mix, makeup-wise for us. But you've got to do the job."

Rodriguez gets his chance to contribute now. He gives the bullpen another power arm. Rodriguez and Carter Capps each can routinely reach 100 mph in velocity. If they can throw enough strikes, the bullpen will have two big weapons.

The Marlins are checking the market for available relief help. They need additional options to take the pressure off A.J. Ramos and Mike Dunn. Ramos and closer Steve Cishek each have logged 15 innings, and Dunn is at 14 1/3 innings.

A few days ago, the Marlins signed Alex Sanabia to a Minor League contract. Sanabia reports to Jupiter, Fla., on Monday, and when he is game ready, he will head to Triple-A New Orleans.

Sanabia rejoins the Marlins' organization after he was released by Arizona. He provides a long-relief option with big league experience.

"We're trying to find the best mix," Hill said. "We've always found a way."

Searching for consistency, Ozuna gets breather

MIA@SD: Ozuna leaps to snag fly ball in center

SAN DIEGO -- Greatness is coming in flashes for Marlins center fielder Marcell Ozuna.

In many ways, Ozuna is symbolic of where Miami is as a club right now. The 23-year-old has tremendous talent and potential. He's also comparatively inexperienced and lacks overall consistency.

"He's a special player," manager Mike Redmond said. "Last year was big for him to come to the big leagues and get a few months of experience. That's helped him out a lot."

Ozuna was given a breather on Sunday in the series finale against the Padres at Petco Park.

In his first full big league season, Ozuna has already doubled his home run total from a year ago. On Friday night, the center fielder belted his sixth shot of the season, and it was a blast that reached the third deck of the Western Metal Supply building stationed beyond the left-field wall at Petco Park.

In 70 games as a rookie last year, Ozuna hit three homers and added 32 RBIs. Entering Sunday, he has 21 RBIs, which is third on the club. His six homers also are tied with Jarrod Saltalamacchia for second most on the Marlins, behind Giancarlo Stanton's 11.

"He's a young guy, and he's still learning his strike zone," Redmond said. "I think sometimes he has a tendency to get out of his comfort level, and he swings at a lot of pitches out of the zone.

"But he seems to always make an adjustment. It might be just one at-bat on any given night. But he's got a ton of power. When he swings at strikes, he's pretty good. That's the key for any young player, learning your strike zone and learning the pitches you can hit and the pitches you can't hit."

The ups and downs are part of Ozuna's maturation process. He's batting .263 with a .304 on-base percentage and a .431 slugging percentage. His strikeouts are an issue, as he's fanned 34 times in his first 137 at-bats.

When he makes contact, Ozuna is a threat.

"He has a lot of power," Redmond said. "I have a lot of confidence in him at the plate. He's a free swinger. I watched him in the Minor Leagues. I love his energy."

Worth noting

• The Marlins remain in no rush to put Rafael Furcal back into rehab game action. Furcal opened the season on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring, but more recently he has been plagued by a strained right groin.

Furcal is receiving treatment at the Roger Dean Stadium complex in Jupiter, Fla. The team isn't speculating when he might return, but it could be several more weeks, at the earliest.

• On Monday, Hill is expected to attend prep standout Alex Jackson's game with Rancho Bernando High School in San Diego. Jackson catches, plays third base and outfield. Miami has the No. 2 overall pick behind Houston in the June 5 First-Year Player Draft.