GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw said negotiations with the club to extend his contract have not started and, if and when they do, they won't take place once the regular season begins.
"I don't think I'll let it go into the season, if it happens at all," said Kershaw, who earns $11 million this year in the final season of a two-year deal. Kershaw is not eligible for free agency until after the 2014 season.
Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said there is mutual interest in an extension, but that it would be done "quietly." Speculation has heated up again with news that the Mariners and their ace, Felix Hernandez, had been working on a seven-year, $175 million extension.
Kershaw was asked if he had thought about breaking the $200 million barrier.
"Obviously, you know how much people make," he said. "Just more than anything, I want to live up to the expectations of being a baseball player. The bigger the contract, the more responsibility you have to your teammates, to your organization and to be a good steward to the community, too. The more money you make, the more responsibility, too."
Kershaw hasn't had a problem with responsibility, emerging as the ace at the age of 22, winning a National League Cy Young Award at the age of 23, and one month from turning 25, he's leading a staff loaded with eight starting pitchers. He said the money talk in the media doesn't bother him.
"Because it's not true," he said.
Kershaw reiterated that the hip impingement that caused him to miss a September start is gone.
"I don't know why it went away, but it did," he said. "It's gone. I feel great. I'm excited. I feel 100 percent, and we've got a good team. That's where my focus is."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.