Andre Ethier takes ground balls at first base.

MILWAUKEE — The Dodgers’ team plane touched down in Milwaukee around 6:30 a.m. this morning. As a result, players did not hit on the field at Miller Park or go through the usual pregame routine fielding drills.

The only players on the field were middle infielders Miguel Rojas, Dee Gordon, Justin Turner and a new first baseman — Andre Ethier.

With Dodgers manager Don Mattingly watching, Ethier fielded ground balls and took throws at first base for about 15 minutes. Click here to see the video.

Ethier has played one inning at first base in his career, during a fairly meaningless August 2010 game against the San Diego Padres. Lately, it’s been hard for Ethier to get on the field in any capacity. He’s seen time at all three outfield positions in August, but since Yasiel Puig took over as the Dodgers’ starting center fielder, Ethier has only 13 plate appearances. The lack of regular at-bats hasn’t helped Ethier to get his lost season untracked; his 2-for-4 game Wednesday in Anaheim gave Ethier his first hits since July 22.

So it’s not hard to see why Mattingly would try to get Ethier comfortable at a fourth position. Even if Adrian Gonzalez is entrenched as the starter and Scott Van Slyke is the primary backup.

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About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.