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Notes: Melvin likes his two catchers

Notes: Melvin likes his two catchers

PHOENIX -- Miguel Montero got his second straight start behind the plate Monday. Is this the sign of a trend? Judging by the words of manager Bob Melvin, who seems content to split the playing time between Montero and Chris Snyder, the answer is no.

"I always get the question, 'Is one of them going to settle in to getting most of the playing time?'" Melvin said. "I still don't know yet. We still feel like we can match them both up, they're both swinging the bats better. We just felt like today, probably a little bit better matchup with Miguel."

Prior to Montero's two-start streak, Snyder had started four straight during which he was 3-for-12 (.250). Montero played well coming off the bench during that time, going 2-for-2 with a two-run double.

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It's hard for one or the other to grab hold of the full-time job unless they are given the chance to play a little more regularly, which at this point doesn't look like it's going to happen.

"I like them both," Melvin said. "If someone jumps up and takes it, and whether I give somebody the opportunity to do that we'll see, but I think both these guys have upsides."

Why didn't I think of that? Melvin played around with numerous lineups throughout Spring Training, but it wasn't until toward the end that he put second baseman Orlando Hudson in the third spot.

"I kick myself for not doing it earlier with this team," Melvin said.

That's because Hudson has taken hold of the spot and hasn't let go. He entered play Monday 10th in the National League with a .341 batting average to go along with four homers and 25 RBIs, also good for 10th in the league.

"He took it," Melvin said. "I think the fact that we stepped him up to that three-spot to an extent made him puff his chest out a little bit and seize the opportunity to be the go-to guy."

Now Melvin can't pry Hudson out of the lineup with a crowbar. Hudson is the only regular to start every game, and he has reached base in each of the first 33 games this year. Much like the last regular occupant of the No. 3 hole -- Luis Gonzalez -- Hudson doesn't want to be out of the lineup, ever.

"I haven't been able to," Melvin said about getting Hudson an off day. "I don't want to right now. He doesn't look like he's tired. It's more his performance that has kept him in there every day."

Hudson's 33-game streak ranks third in franchise history behind Jay Bell, who reached in 40 straight in 1998 and Luis Gonzalez, who reached in 35 consecutive games in 1999.

Wait and see: Third baseman Chad Tracy (ribcage) took batting practice and ground balls Monday, but his availability is still a question, though Melvin seemed to think he could pinch-hit if needed.

"We're trying to ease our way into seeing if he's available without putting too much stress on it to where we get a setback it definitely would be a [disabled list situation]," Melvin said. "Each day is separate with him, and until he really gets something that challenges it to an extent at game speed, we won't know."

On the rise? Alberto Callaspo was in a 2-for-37 funk before collecting a pair of hits in four at-bats Sunday.

"He's got a hot streak coming," Melvin said. "He's going to hit."

Bright lights, big performance: Veteran Livan Hernandez pitched the D-backs past the Mets on Sunday to snap Arizona's five-game losing streak and a 13-game streak to the Mets that dated back to 2004.

"Livo came up huge for us yesterday," Melvin said. "He knew we needed him yesterday. He knew this was a huge game for us yesterday, and he came up big against a lineup that has had a lot of success against him. He's a big-game pitcher. He enjoys each and every challenge. The bigger the challenge, the better he pitches."

Minor League notes: Pitcher Jason Neighborgall was moved back to extended Spring Training after struggling with Class A South Bend. The hard-throwing righty appeared in five games and managed to get a total of three outs while walking 12.

The D-backs will try to teach Neighborgall a new delivery that will have him throwing sidearm to see if that helps his control.

Up next: The D-backs and Phillies continue their series at 6:40 p.m. MST on Tuesday with Micah Owings taking on Adam Eaton.

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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