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Notes: Julio in Arizona for now

Notes: Julio in Arizona for now

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Trade rumors continue to swirl around D-backs reliever Jorge Julio, but the right-hander is still on the roster and pitched on Wednesday against the Angels.

One baseball executive said the sticking point for some teams interested in Julio is that the D-backs do not want to pick up any of the $3.6 million he's owed in 2007.

When asked if Julio could still be with the team come Opening Day, D-backs general manager Josh Byrnes said, "As of right now, yeah."

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When asked about the amount of trade talk going on around baseball, Byrnes said: "Not a ton, but some. It's sort of the state of the game. A lot of teams realistically have a chance this year and I don't think they're into tinker mode just yet."

Mixed bag: Enrique Gonzalez, a favorite to nab one of the final two spots in the rotation, was up and down in his start on Wednesday.

Gonzalez, who lasted five innings, retired the Angels in order in the first, which included a strikeout of Vladimir Guerrero, but he ran into some trouble in the second as he allowed three runs on three hits.

"A little bit back and forth," D-backs manager Bob Melvin said of the outing. "At times real good, at times probably a little too predictable, a little defensive."

Gonzalez said he felt good and was getting too much movement on some of his pitches.

"Then you have to make the adjustment," Melvin said.

Not fun in the sun: Melvin was clearly displeased with the way his team played defense Wednesday. Two more balls were lost in the sun, which came on the heels of extra work put in by the outfielders.

"We were just real sloppy today," Melvin said. "At times embarrassingly sloppy. I wasn't real happy with the way we played on defense today."

Slaten A-OK in return: Reliever Doug Slaten pitched well in his first Cactus League action since March 12. The left-hander, who has struggled with some back issues and was struck earlier this month in the forearm by a line drive, had pitched in a Minor League game last Sunday.

"It's good to get him back in an 'A' game here and have a little success too," Melvin said. "Important to get him back in the swing of things because we're getting down to the end here."

Look for Melvin to start bringing Slaten into games to face left-handers toward the end of camp, as that would figure to be his role during the regular season.

Over the hump: Catcher Miguel Montero has struggled a bit with his throwing this spring, and he looked bad on a couple of stolen-base attempts by the Angels before picking off Maicer Izturis in the fourth inning.

"It was good to see him get past that little roadblock he's had here of late, because he's going to be a good thrower," Melvin said. "He's got all the tools to be a good thrower."

Up next: Brandon Webb will get the start on Thursday against the Giants in Scottsdale, with Dana Eveland following him to the mound.

With Webb pitching in the game, it squeezes out Dustin Nippert, who had been scheduled to pitch along with Eveland. Nippert will instead throw in a Minor League game on Friday.

Nippert could possibly start a Cactus League game on March 28 if the team decides to throw Livan Hernandez in a Minor League game that day.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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