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Add Jay Payton’s name to the list of veteran center field candidates the Diamondbacks are considering as the clock continues to tick toward the opening of spring training.
Payton, 32, has already been traded once this year. After hitting .260 with eight home runs and 55 RBIs in 143 games for San Diego, he was dealt to the world champion Boston Red Sox on Dec. 20 along with infielder Ramon Vazquez in exchange for outfielder Dave Roberts.
But with attempts to acquire Eric Byrnes from Oakland and Mike Cameron from the New York Mets hitting stumbling blocks, baseball sources say Arizona is talking to the Red Sox about a possible deal for Payton, which would be a cheaper alternative to both Cameron ($14 million and two years left on his contract) and Byrnes (about a $2 million arbitration award expected). Payton made $1.5 million last year.