PHOENIX — With Clayton Kershaw on the verge of pitching more innings than he has ever pitched in a season, the Dodgers have pushed back his next start from Wednesday to Saturday.
Kershaw leads baseball with 223 innings pitched — only 10 1/3 innings shy of his career high, set when he won the Cy Young Award in 2011.
Coincidentally or not, the shift in Kershaw's schedule would line him up to start Game 1 of the National League division series on Oct. 3. Zack Greinke probably would pitch Game 2.
"That would be the benefit of this, I guess," Manager Don Mattingly said.
Stephen Fife will start in Kershaw's place Wednesday. Fife last started a game Aug. 4. Ricky Nolasco will pitch Thursday and Edinson Volquez on Friday.
Mattingly said Kershaw initially resisted the postponement of his next start, which is now against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park.
For his part, Kershaw said that he feels fine and that the extra days of rest are unnecessary.
Still, Kershaw acknowledged he could benefit in the long run from the extended time off.
"I feel great physically, I feel really good," he said. "These extra days won't do anything but make me feel better. I'm going to go stir crazy, but I know Saturday will be getting here fast enough. They want me to be well-rested if we get to pitch deeper into the season. I don't think I need it. At the same time, I'm not going to argue with it."
Kershaw said he certainly felt better than he did last season, when he pitched through a hip injury.
"Definitely feel way better this year than I did last year at this time," he said. "That's what the off-season is for. I feel great. There's no excuses right now. If I'm tired there would be doubt and regret. 'Why didn't I do this?' or 'Why didn't I do that?' I don't have any. I feel if I don't pitch well, it's because I didn't pitch well. It has nothing to do with conditioning."
Gold Glove at third?
In Mattingly's admittedly biased view, third baseman Juan Uribe deserves a Gold Glove.
"He's been great, obviously," Mattingly said. "We get to see our guy all the time. The guy in Colorado is talking about their guy [Nolan Arenado] winning the Gold Glove. I'm sure there are other people talking about [Ryan] Zimmerman. Everybody sees their own guy, so they see all the great plays. We're no different.
"Juan's been tremendous. I'd be hard-pressed to say somebody's better than him at third."
Entering Tuesday, Uribe had made only five errors in 114 games at third.
Carl Crawford could return to the lineup as early as Wednesday, according to Mattingly. … Andre Ethier was still wearing a protective boot. … Hard-throwing rookie reliever Jose Dominguez threw a bullpen session. Dominguez has been sidelined since July 23 because of a strained groin. … The Dodgers continue to be active in the international market. Their latest overseas addition is Takumi Numata, a 19-year-old right-hander from Japan. Numata pitched this season in Japan's industrial league.