Notes: Fish bats must wake

Notes: Fish bats must wake

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Spring Training statistics generally are meaningless.

Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez certainly doesn't put much stock in some of the offensive numbers the Marlins put up in Grapefruit League play.

After losing 8-2 on Friday afternoon to the Mets, the Marlins finished their Grapefruit League season with the fewest runs scored (105) and the lowest batting average (.218) in the Major Leagues.

Obviously, exhibition games aren't a true indicator, and numbers tend to be exaggerated -- good and bad. The hottest hitting team in all of spring has been the Rangers, who were batting .329 entering Friday.

Gonzalez points out that the Marlins lineup is basically the same as the one that a club record with 758 runs scored in 2006. That squad also set a team mark for home runs (182).

The Marlins' Opening Day lineup will feature Miguel Cabrera, Hanley Ramirez, Dan Uggla, Mike Jacobs, Josh Willingham, Miguel Olivo, Joe Borchard and Alejandro De Aza. All but Borchard and De Aza started the first game for Florida last year.

"You start to compare them to some of the lineups in the National League East, and they're OK. They're right there," Gonzalez said. "Against the Mets, we've got Cabrera, they've got [David] Wright. Who do you like? They've got [Jose] Reyes, we got Ramirez. Who do you like? We've got Uggla, they've got [Jose] Valentin. We've got Jacobs, they've got [Carlos] Delgado.

"You do that with Atlanta, it's the same thing. You've got Cabrera, they've got Chipper Jones. You've got Ramirez, they've got [Edgar] Renteria. Philly is the same thing. Last year, they set records for runs scored here."

In the 2006 regular season, with a rookie-filled roster, the Marlins ended up in the middle of the National League in runs scored. Their total of 758 ranked eighth of 16 teams.

Johnson throwing: Josh Johnson has thrown off flat ground four times this past week.

Battling back from irritation to his right biceps nerve, Johnson is on a light throwing pattern where he is playing catch every other day. Thursday was his fourth session, and he is scheduled to throw again on Saturday in Jupiter.

Johnson is opening the season on the disabled list, and he's going through a series of exercises to strengthen his forearm and shoulder.

Johnson is likely to miss at least two months.

Super-sub Amezaga: Alfredo Amezaga played seven positions a year ago, everything but pitcher and catcher. All spring, he as worked at either shortstop or second base.

But in practices the past couple of days, he's taken fly balls in the outfield for the first time.

A natural infielder, Amezaga became the primary center fielder in the second half of last year. The team is hoping to avoid using Amezaga in the outfield, but he is an alternative backup for starter Alejandro De Aza.

"I'm going to work in the outfield, just to review the steps from last year," Amezaga said.

Amezaga sees his role as helping get things started.

"Every day, I'll try to do my job, steal bases, bunt, and things like that," he said.

Amezaga also takes pride in helping make sure the whole team sticks together.

"I like to help keep the team together, not as a player, but as a family, to have all the guys together," he said. "I want them to get along good. That's important to me, when guys get along together, that helps make a good team."

Keeping No. 77: Reliever Henry Owens plans on keeping the No. 77 he wore in Spring Training.

Seven is his favorite number, and it's also the number he wore in the Mets' Double-A system last year. His two sisters, both athletes, have worn No. 7. His sister, Chrissy, is a standout softball pitcher at the University of Alabama. His other sister, Jennifer, is now a school teacher, but she previously played sports.

"I like the No. 7, I'm just doubling it," Owens said.

Spring attendance: The Marlins enjoyed a 17 percent increase in home Grapefruit League attendance, compared to figures compiled a year ago at Roger Dean Stadium.

In its 16 home games, Florida drew 78,309. The figure in 2006 was 67,015.

The Marlins began Spring Training at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter in 2003. While they drew 54,248 in the spring where they went on to eventually win the World Series, their highest attendance season in Jupiter was 87,060 (2005).

Three of the Marlins' home games were sell outs, and the top individual game crowd was 8,004 against the Red Sox on March 6.

The Marlins share the Roger Dean Stadium complex with the Cardinals. Now that Spring Training is over there, the stadium will play host to 140 total Minor League games for the Jupiter Hammerheads and Palm Beach Cardinals of the Florida State League.

Stokes traded to A's: First baseman Jason Stokes, Florida's second-round pick in 2000, was traded Friday to the A's for catcher John Baker.

The 25-year-old Stokes had an injury-riddled tenure playing in the Minor League system. He was 1-for-11 with a double in Grapefruit League action before he was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque. Stokes has a career Minor League average of .279 with 87 home runs and 313 RBIs in 441 games.

Baker, 26, is a left-handed-hitting catcher who batted .273 with four home runs and 38 RBIs in Triple-A Sacramento a year ago.

Coming up: The Marlins polish up their spring exhibition season on Saturday at 2 p.m. ET against the Reds in Dayton, Ohio, at Fifth Third Field. Sergio Mitre will get the start. Cincinnati is going with Eric Milton.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.