5/29/2013 10:20 P.M. ET
Despite rough outing, Maddon impressed by Fernandez
By Joe Frisaro and Joe Morgan / MLB.com
MIAMI -- When Jose Fernandez faced the Rays on Monday at Tropicana Field, the 20-year-old rookie endured arguably his worst outing in 10 big league starts.
In 3 1/3 innings, the right-hander was tagged for seven runs (four earned) in a 10-6 Marlins' loss.
While the numbers weren't pretty, Fernandez left a strong first impression with Rays manager Joe Maddon.
"That guy there, with good health, over the next three, four, five years, whatever -- could be the best pitcher in the game," Maddon said. "That's it. That's how good he is."
Born in Cuba, Fernandez was a two-time state champion at Alonzo High School in Tampa. Admittedly, the hard-throwing right-hander was pumped up pitching in front of family and friends.
He showed his fastest velocity of the season, hitting 99 mph on a fastball that struck out Evan Longoria swinging.
The pure stuff and composure Fernandez displayed caught Maddon's attention.
"Delivery, outstanding. Stuff, outstanding," the Rays' two-time American League Manager of the Year said. "He's got a way about him. I don't even know the kid, but I could tell he's got a lot of confidence."
If there is a concern, Maddon noted, it could be how Fernandez deals with the transition to the big leagues, and nights that he struggles.
"The only thing I'd be concerned with him is just that he doesn't get beat up too much, just based on inexperience," Maddon said. "Because physically, he's as gifted as I've seen in a while."
Ozuna already making history with Marlins
MIAMI -- In the big leagues for only a month, Marcell Ozuna is already making a historical presence for the Marlins.
The 22-year-old right fielder is riding a 14-game hitting streak after his infield single in the fourth inning on Wednesday -- one of only three hits the Marlins had in a 3-1 loss to the Rays.
Ozuna's streak is the longest active stretch in the Majors and the most by a Marlins player this year. It's also tied for the third longest streak by a Marlins' rookie.
Edgar Renteria holds the club's rookie mark at 22, set in 1996. Chuck Carr is second at 15 games (1993), and Chris Coghlan (2009) and Renteria (1996) also had strings of 14 games.
"He's brought that energy every day," manager Mike Redmond said. "He's having fun. He appreciates the opportunity he has to be here in the big leagues, and he wants to stay. To see that energy and to see a guy just throwing it all out there every single night is fun."
Ozuna's hitting is obviously getting attention. But so is his hustle, which was evident in Tuesday's 7-6 loss at Tampa Bay.
On Desmond Jennings' walk-off single in the ninth inning, Ozuna played hard until the end. He had no chance of throwing out Kelly Johnson, who scored from second. But Ozuna still charged to the ball and attempted a desperation throw home.
"You don't know if maybe he falls down," Ozuna said.
On the bases in the eighth inning, Ozuna showed aggressiveness, which set up the go-ahead run.
"I'm trying to get make the pitcher [concentrate on me] and throw a lot of balls, and try to get more people on base," he said.
Redmond has Ozuna batting cleanup, and he projects to be a major piece in Miami's building process.
"I want guys to throw it all out there," Redmond said. "That's what we talked about when we talked this winter about bringing guys in to change the culture. Those are the kind of players I want. I want guys that play hard the entire game."
Morrison will play out length of rehab assignment
MIAMI -- Marlins manager Mike Redmond reiterated the team's intention to have Logan Morrison play out the length of his rehab assignment to give the first baseman more at-bats before returning to the Majors.
Position players can spend up to 20 days on rehab assignments.
Morrison underwent offseason surgery on his right knee and has not played with Miami since last July.
Morrison's rehab assignment, which began with Class A Jupiter on May 20, will end in time for him to make his debut on June 9.
However, the Marlins will be playing the Mets in the final contest of a six-game road trip that day, likely pushing back Morrison's return to June 10 against the Brewers at Marlins Park.
The first baseman is currently rehabbing with Double-A Jacksonville.
• Giancarlo Stanton (hamstring) did some light running with some cutting on the outfield grass on Wednesday. Stanton has also hit and worked in the field.
Redmond said Stanton will begin a rehab assignment once the right fielder feels good enough to return to game action.
• Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi (throwing shoulder inflammation) will make another start for Class A Jupiter on Thursday before moving on to Double-A Jacksonville.
Eovaldi could rejoin the Marlins' rotation after Thursday's rehab start -- his second -- provided he does not suffer any setbacks.
Pitchers can spend up to 30 days on a rehab assignment.
• Redmond has not yet announced who will replace right-hander Alex Sanabia (right groin) in the rotation for Friday's game against the Mets. Left-handers Wade LeBlanc and Duane Below are options.
• Right-hander Henderson Alvarez (throwing shoulder inflammation) will throw 50-60 pitches during batting practice on Thursday.
• Second baseman Donovan Solano (intercostal strain) and first baseman Casey Kotchman (left hamstring) are rehabbing in extended spring camp in Jupiter.
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.