PHOENIX -- Though he told people when Spring Training started that left fielder Jason Kubel was better defensively than he got credit for, D-backs manager Kirk Gibson did not realize just how good he was.

"I always thought of him more from his offensive side," Gibson said. "I think everybody did. I can tell you I don't think we evaluated his arm as good as it's been."

While his arm might not be of the caliber of Gerardo Parra when it comes to pure strength, Kubel makes up for it with good footwork, a quick release and an accurate throw.

Kubel leads the National League in outfield assists with 11, which ties him with Toronto's Jose Bautista for the most in the Majors.

Kubel threw out the Dodgers' Mark Ellis trying to score on James Loney's flyout to end the top of the seventh inning on Friday and help preserve the D-backs' 5-3 win.

When Kubel was signed as a free agent during the offseason, the D-backs talked mainly about his offensive potential and what he would mean to the lineup.

"I think everybody was thinking about the bat honestly," Gibson said. "This is probably one of his better years defensively. He doesn't have a ton of foot speed. He's very studious, almost on every pitch moving around and understanding what's going on. He has great footwork, he gets around the ball properly, you don't see him throw things out of control. He has no panic in his game at all offensively or defensively."

Kubel's previous high for outfield assists in a season was nine, set last year, and he credits his former teammate with the Twins, Torii Hunter, for teaching him how to get rid of the ball quickly.

"Just more opportunities," Kubel said about the increase this year. "Just plenty of opportunities, and I've had a lot of easy ones."

Kennedy gets call to open D-backs' second half

PHOENIX -- Ian Kennedy will start the first game back after the All-Star break Friday, when the D-backs play at Wrigley Field.

Kennedy will be followed by Joe Saunders -- provided his rehab appearance Sunday goes well -- and Trevor Cahill.

Wade Miley will pitch one of the two days after that and as for the final spot, well, stay tuned.

A lot will depend on how rookie Trevor Bauer looks in his start Sunday. Bauer has not been sharp in his first two starts since being called up from Triple-A.

D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said the team had considered throwing Miley in the series with the Cubs but wanted to give him some extra time to recover from the All-Star festivities because he is the club's lone representative.

Worth noting

• Right-hander Archie Bradley, who was the No. 7 overall pick in last year's First-Year Player Draft, tied a career high with eight strikeouts in five innings for Class A South Bend on Friday.

Bradley is ranked by MLB.com as the team's No. 2 prospect.

• Josh Collmenter picked up the win Friday night against the Dodgers, his first victory since Game 3 of the 2011 National League Division Series.

"It's good to have a check in the 'W' column finally," Collmenter said.

• In his last 12 games since May 26, closer J.J. Putz has a 1.50 ERA.

• Triple-A third baseman Ryan Wheeler entered play Saturday with 87 RBIs, 10 more than any other player in the Minor Leagues. Since 2005, no Pacific Coast League player had more than 85 RBIs at the break. The D-backs' Triple-A season high for RBIs is 92 set by Cody Ransom last year.