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07/23/12 9:46 PM ET

Saito happy to be back on mound after long layoff

PHOENIX -- It has taken longer than he ever thought it would, but D-backs reliever Takashi Saito is thankful to be back on the mound.

Saito was signed as a free agent during the offseason and the D-backs knew the 42-year-old was a health risk, given how much time he missed last year while pitching for the Brewers.

The D-backs thought Saito was going to be healthy to start the season, but a calf injury he sustained in the final week of Spring Training forced him to start the year on the disabled list.

Saito had setbacks with the calf and then had some shoulder trouble and missed almost a month of rehab time due to illness.

Finally on Saturday, Saito made his first big league appearance the season.

"I'm really glad to be back and contributing to the team," Saito said through an interpreter before Monday's opener against the Rockies. "I just want to take one day at a time, and hopefully contribute to the team getting back to the playoffs."

Saito allowed one hit and walked one while allowing an unearned run in his one inning appearance.

"My arm felt good, my stuff felt good," Saito said. "Maybe too much adrenaline and the ball was up a little bit, but I felt good."

Hudson focusing on big picture following surgery

PHOENIX -- D-backs right-hander Daniel Hudson is trying to stay positive after having Tommy John surgery earlier this month, but the reality is it's going to be a long rehab process.

"It's not weird," he said of not being able to pitch. "It stinks."

The typical recovery period for the surgery is 12 months, and Hudson just began trying to strengthen his forearm and improve his range of motion.

"It is what it is," Hudson said. "I can't do anything about it now, I just have to try and fix it. It's a slow process. It stinks being home and watching the guys, but it also stinks being on the road and watching on TV. It's so far away right now that you just take baby steps. You try to keep the bigger picture in mind."

The bigger picture is the success rate for the procedure is very good, and some pitchers even throw harder after it than they did before.

For an example, Hudson need look no further than former teammate Jarrod Parker, who had the surgery in the fall of 2009 and missed the entire 2010 campaign. Parker came back and pitched well in the Minors in 2011, and after being dealt to the A's last offseason, he's been outstanding for Oakland this year.

"He's a pretty good case of what could happen with this surgery," Hudson said. "Guys come back just as strong, if not stronger. I just try to keep that in mind. Can't really tell at this point if I'm going to be in that group or not, but I'm just going to get my work in and try and make sure I am."

It will be another four months before Hudson picks up a baseball, and quite a while after that before he knows just how his elbow will respond.

"My surgery was a success because I didn't die on the table," he said. "That's all you can really say at this point."

Drew not paying attention to trade rumors

PHOENIX -- MLB Network was on in the D-backs' clubhouse prior to batting practice Monday, and as players went about getting prepared for the game, they couldn't help but notice the trade rumors that were being broadcast.

While a couple of prominent D-backs -- shortstop Stephen Drew and outfielder Justin Upton -- have been mentioned heavily in the speculation, it appears that the chances of Upton being in a different uniform come the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline are slim.

Drew, well that's another story.

Drew can be a free agent at the end of the season, though there is a $10 million mutual option for 2013, and the likelihood is he will not return.

"Whatever happens, happens," Drew said of the trade rumors. "I'm not going to dwell on that."

After returning late last month from a devastating ankle injury he suffered last July, Drew is more focused on the day-to-day process of getting ready to play.

"I don't even think about the trade talk to be honest," he said. "I just go about my business getting prepared every day to play. I'm with this team until I'm with another team. I'm just trying to prepare myself every day to be the best player I can for this team."

Drew is hitting .217 in 60 at-bats since returning to the lineup.

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