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JJ taking it easy

Eddie Altamonte

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http://florida.marlins.mlb.com/news/articl...sp&c_id=fla

Notes: Johnson taking it easy
02/21/2007 4:15 PM ET
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com

JUPITER, Fla. -- Rusty after waiting more than a month to throw, Josh Johnson's first toss Wednesday was understandably a little off the mark.
The Marlins right-hander's throw was slightly low, but no one was complaining.

What's so encouraging is Johnson was back throwing from 60 feet off flat ground. It was his first tossing session since he felt discomfort above his elbow on Jan. 19.

Johnson was on a limited basic catch session. He made about 30 tosses in five minutes and immediately was told to stop. The team isn't pushing anything right now in attempts to build up the 6-foot-7 starter's arm strength.

"I felt fine. It's good. Step one," Johnson said.

Next up is seeing how he feels Thursday morning. If there is no discomfort, he will throw again off flat ground and then take Friday off.

If there is anything alarming on Thursday morning, he will rest another day.

Right now, just throwing again is a relief. Johnson felt something in the back of his arm -- in the lower triceps area -- in January.

"I'm going crazy not being able to throw, and hanging out here and not being able to help the team or anything," he said.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez said the trainers and pitching coach Rick Kranitz mentioned Johnson held up fine.

As a precaution, Johnson hesitates to even flip the ball underhand a short distance when he is doing fielding drills. He says he doesn't want to risk anything.

Amezaga in the infield: While Alfredo Amezaga appeared in 75 games in center field a year ago, ideally the versatile switch-hitter is being looked at as a backup middle infielder. "I think a majority of the time, I'd like to see him in the middle of the diamond," Gonzalez said. "That's not to say that we won't run him out there in center field, because he did such a great job. That's an option out there, but I'd like to see him play in the middle of the diamond and give those guys a day off here and a day off there."

In the first full day of workouts Wednesday, Amezaga worked mostly backing up shortstop Hanley Ramirez and second baseman Dan Uggla.

Amezaga has three gloves in his locker: infield, outfield and first base.

Playing in the Mexican Winter League this offseason, Amezaga worked mostly at shortstop.

State funding? Denied for three straight years from getting state assistance for a new stadium, some positive momentum is starting to build for the Marlins.

On Tuesday, the Florida State Commerce Committee unanimously approved two bills that would offer $60 million in state relief.

The Marlins and Miami-Dade County and city of Miami officials are making progress for a retractable-roof ballpark in downtown Miami. The roughly 38,000-seat stadium, which would cost more than $450 million, would be owned by Miami-Dade County. So city and county leaders are up in Tallahassee for the annual legislative session.

If approved, the Marlins would receive $2 million in state sales tax relief for 30 years to help finance a new stadium.

The legislative session begins on March 6 and lasts until May.

The club declined to comment on the stadium situation.

Major League Baseball is actively involved in the Marlins' stadium push, which has been an ongoing process for more than 10 years.

Pierre's influence: It's been two seasons now since Juan Pierre was a part of the Marlins, but Dontrelle Willis notes that the influence of the speedy center fielder remains in the clubhouse.

Pierre, now with the Dodgers, helped mold Willis' work ethic.

In Spring Training of 2003, Willis was staying at a hotel and rooming with Chip Ambres, an outfielder no longer in the organization. Willis would get rides to Roger Dean Stadium with Pierre.

Pierre is a noted early-riser who commonly would be batting in the cages before 7 a.m.

Remembering his first big-league camp, Willis says he would eat dinner every night with Pierre and Derrek Lee.

But the morning rides to the park stand out for the D-Train.

"He left at an ungodly hour, like 6:35," Willis said. "Every morning, he would call my room. It was like 6:35, and I'd run down and have sleep in my eyes, every day. He just started talking to us about the game and what we needed to do.

"Me being here so early, I started running early and hitting early. Then I started working on my stuff and getting better. You just started working on your game, on things people don't see. Everybody needs somebody like that. ... I think he definitely planted a seed in this organization."

Fish bites: Uggla made a family watching practice Wednesday happy by giving their child one of his batting-practice bats. Uggla broke the bat during a swing off live pitching. He signed the bat and handed it to a child. ... Practices are open to the public on the back fields at Roger Dean Stadium beginning at 10 a.m. ET. ... The first live batting-practice group on Wednesday had Miguel Cabrera, Aaron Boone and Mike Jacobs. They faced Yusmeiro Petit and Jose Garcia. A second hitting trio was Ramirez, Uggla and Amezaga. They faced lefty Chris George and right-hander Roy Corcoran. George, who has big-league experience with the Royals, threw 107 1/3 innings at Triple-A Albuquerque last year. He has shown a strong arm that has turned some heads in camp.
 

Hotcorner

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Amezaga in the infield: While Alfredo Amezaga appeared in 75 games in center field a year ago, ideally the versatile switch-hitter is being looked at as a backup middle infielder. "I think a majority of the time, I'd like to see him in the middle of the diamond," Gonzalez said. "That's not to say that we won't run him out there in center field, because he did such a great job. That's an option out there, but I'd like to see him play in the middle of the diamond and give those guys a day off here and a day off there."
:thumbup
 

SHUfishfan

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Nice to see JJ throwing again hopefully nothing goes bad thursday.
 

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