LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers second baseman Howie Kendrick has taken a little longer than expected in returning from his left hamstring strain, though a return some time around the first week of September still seems in the cards for the infielder.
"Howie has kind of plateaued a little bit, where he can run 90-95 percent but isn't yet all the way there," manager Don Mattingly. "We were kind of hoping he'd be playing baseball by Sunday, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen. So it's probably a few extra days for Howie."
Kendrick last played on Aug. 9, when he injured his hamstring in Pittsburgh after his second hit, his fifth straight game with multiple hits.
With minor league regular seasons ending on Sept. 7 or 8, there is limited time for Kendrick to see much minor league rehab action before he would be activated. But Mattingly didn't think that would be much of a problem.
"I don't think we're worried about [minor league seasons ending]. He's able to get live BP and at-bats in Arizona," Mattingly said. "At this point in the year you've got so many at-bats under your belt you don't worry about the rehab as much as you might earlier in the season. It's just a matter of getting Howie back to where he feels like he's ready."
With Kendrick likely at least a week away from returning to the Dodgers, that affects the rest of the infield, and the roster.
For one thing, it means more time at second base for Chase Utley, who counting Friday has started six straight games at the position after serving as designated hitter in his Dodgers debut.
Second base is the primary position of Jose Peraza, called up Friday from Triple-A. The speedy Peraza also plays shortstop and center field, the same three positions that Kiké Hernandez plays.
"With Howie still not back yet, we don't want to run Chase out there every day. We wanted to be able to mix and match a little bit," Mattingly said. "[Peraza] can play the outfield, which allows us to move Kiké around a little bit."
Mattingly also listed Utley and Hernandez as backup third baseman in addition to Alex Guerrero.
The starter, Justin Turner, is starting for a fourth consecutive day on Friday night against the Cubs, something he has done three other times this season. The club and training staff have been cautious with Turner, who has yet to start on more than four straight games, though Mattingly intimated Turner might play even more often down the stretch.
"Right now we feel like he's ready to go. It's that time of year, guys want to play. He's all clear to play," Mattingly said. "But we'll still be careful."
Mattingly acknowledged his list of backup third basemen could change with September call-ups, but wouldn't bite when asked if Corey Seager, who is the Dodgers' top prospect but not on the 40-man roster, will join the major league club next month.
"He's ran through my head," Mattingly said. "We haven't talked about it. Andrew and the group will make decisions on who's coming and when, and we'll see where it goes."