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Notes: D-backs relish underdog role

Notes: D-backs relish underdog role

PHOENIX -- Conor Jackson happened to be walking by his television set Tuesday morning and saw the results of a poll about who would win the National League pennant.

And it wasn't the D-backs.

"We were the last team to be picked," the first baseman said. "I mean the dead last team to be picked. I mean, like four percent."

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Any thoughts about that, Conor?

"It's good, it's motivating. I'm not angry. I don't think anyone here is angry, it's motivation for us. I don't think that coming into the playoffs there's a better thing to have on your side than motivation. So we're going to take this in stride and we're going to take it like we have since Day 1 of the season -- one game at a time. Because that's the way you've got to handle the playoffs. One game at a time."

Part of the reason the Cubs have received the bulk of the attention is they have more recognizable players than the D-backs have. Guys like Derek Lee, Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez have far more extensive track records than Chris Young, Eric Byrnes and Mark Reynolds.

While Jackson and others might use the lack of attention as motivation, others in the clubhouse won't.

"I couldn't care less," Byrnes said. "I would rather people not expect us to do anything. That's fine with us. No one expected us to win the NL West either, and here we are in the postseason. Everyone out there can go ahead and think we're going to lose to the Cubs, that's fine with me.

"That's one of the reasons why we've had success, you know, teams come in here and they overlook us. They look at us on paper and they don't think we're that good, and the next thing you know, they walk out of here and they just lost two out of three -- that's how we've done it all year."

So is Byrnes saying the Cubs are overlooking Arizona?

"I really don't care how the Cubs look at us," Byrnes said. "They are a group of professionals over there that know not to look past us. I'm sure they're not looking past us. They have a really good team. Look up and down their lineup, they've got a great lineup, they've got a great staff, they've got a great bullpen. They can look up and down our team and I don't know if they will say the same thing, but I don't really care. We're going to go out there and we're going to play our butts off, and that's it."

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Lineup: The lineup that Bob Melvin posted following the workout didn't contain many surprises: Young (CF), Stephen Drew (SS), Byrnes (LF), Tony Clark (1B), Mark Reynolds (3B), Jeff Salazar (RF), Chris Snyder (C), Augie Ojeda (2B) and Brandon Webb (P).

Melvin said his decision to start Clark instead of Jackson and Salazar in place of Justin Upton is because he feels the left-handed hitters will match up better against Cubs righty Carlos Zambrano.

Zambrano has held righties to a .200 mark during the regular season, while lefties have hit him at a .268 clip.

Jackson and Upton are both likely to be in the lineup for Games 2 and 3 against left-handers Ted Lilly and Rich Hill.

Upton OK: Speaking of Upton, the 20-year-old had X-rays taken of his left wrist, which was struck by a pitch Sunday in Colorado. The X-rays were negative, and Upton shouldn't be limited by it during the series.

Sim game: Game 3 starter Livan Hernandez threw a simulated game Tuesday in an effort to stay sharp. The right-hander will have nine days off between his final regular season start and Saturday's game in Chicago.

"It's a lot of days," Hernandez said. "You've got to throw a little bit more because you don't want to lose your strike zone."

O-Dog: Second baseman Orlando Hudson had the cast removed from his left hand Monday. Hudson had surgery to repair torn ligaments a few weeks ago and will not be able to play until next spring.

Since the surgery, he's sat on the bench trying to lend encouragement to his teammates.

"I was a little part of the reason why we got here, not major, just a little part of it," he said. "And I'm just going to keep doing what I've been doing, and that's keep the guys going."

No distractions: Game 2 starter Doug Davis won't have many friends or family in town for the series, and that's just the way the left-hander wants it.

"Now I can just concentrate on what I've got to do out there and not worry about making other people happy," he said. "I don't have to worry about having dinner with anyone, I can just do whatever I have to do to get ready for my start, and that's what I need to do."

Catching up: Third baseman Chad Tracy mingled with his teammates for the first time since having season-ending knee surgery Sept. 20. The recovery time for the surgery is anywhere from four to eight months.

"It's hard to pinpoint," said Tracy, who will be on crutches for four more weeks. "The goal is to be back for Spring Training."

Waiting game: The D-backs were still debating Tuesday whether to go with 15 position players and 10 pitchers or a 14 and 11 mix. The deadline to submit their roster is 10 a.m. MST on Wednesday.

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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