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.

Yasiel Puig still leading National League outfielders on all-star ballot; Adrian Gonzalez slips to second.

MLB provided an updated all-star ballot tally Sunday, and Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig still leads the pack with 1,942,701 votes. Andrew McCutchen (1,727,534) and Giancarlo Stanton (1,659,430) are second and third, respectively.

Adrian Gonzalez (1,049,222) fell behind Paul Goldschmidt (1,291,052) in voting among National League first basemen. No other Dodgers are among the top three vote-getters at their position.

Juan Uribe dropped out of the top five among National League third basemen. Hanley Ramirez remains fourth among shortstops with 667,162 — well behind Troy Tulowitzki, whose 2.6 million votes lead all National League players. Dee Gordon slipped to third among second baseman with 898,226, possibly past the point of catching leader Chase Utley (1,678,843).

Voting ends at 8:59 pm on July 3, 2014.

Yasiel Puig, Adrian Gonzalez continue their strong All-Star bids.

Yasiel Puig Adrian Gonzalez

Yasiel Puig and Adrian Gonzalez are attempting to become the first pair of Dodgers teammates to earn fan elections in an All-Star Game since 1980. (Getty Images)

Yasiel Puig and Adrian Gonzalez continue to lead all National League outfielders and first basemen, respectively, in updated All-Star balloting announced Monday.

Puig widened his lead over Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, 1,472,717 votes to 1,259,047 for Stanton. As of six days ago, Puig led Colorado Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon by about 52,000 votes. Blackmon fell out of the top three, surpassed by Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez. There are no other Dodger outfielders (Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier are both on the ballot) among the top 15 vote-getters.

Puig entered play Monday ranked second in the N.L. with a .591 slugging percentage and a .430 on-base percentage, tied for fourth with 23 multi-hit games, fifth with 127 total bases, tied for sixth with 40 RBI and 30 extra-base hits and tied for seventh with 72 hits.

Gonzalez maintains his lead with 888,906 total votes. He is trailed closely by a pair of 2013 N.L. All-Stars – Paul Goldschmidt (784,026) of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Freddie Freeman (710,778) of the Atlanta Braves.

Puig and Gonzalez are attempting to become the first pair of Dodgers teammates to earn fan elections in an All-Star Game since 1980, when first baseman Steve Garvey, second baseman Davey Lopes, shortstop Bill Russell and outfielder Reggie Smith were all elected by the fans.

Three other Dodgers are among the top five vote-getters at their positions: second baseman Dee Gordon (second), shortstop Hanley Ramirez (fourth) and third baseman Juan Uribe (fifth).

The All-Star Game will be played at Target Field in Minnesota on Tuesday, July 15.

All-Star balloting update: Yasiel Puig, Adrian Gonzalez have the votes.

Adrian Gonzalez

Adrian Gonzalez made the All-Star team each year from 2008-11, but none since. (Associated Press)


Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez are the leading vote-getters at their respective positions for the National League All-Star Game.

Puig surged from fifth to first at the polls. His total of 935,276 votes leads Colorado Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon (883,186) and Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton (863,307).

Gonzalez (647,826) remained in line to start at first base for the second straight week, leading Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau (525,614).

Dee Gordon (530,289) remains second to Chase Utley (974,196) among National League second basemen, while Hanley Ramirez is fourth among shortstops (366,355) and Juan Uribe is fifth among third basemen (436,776).

Puig is the only Dodgers outfielder among the top 15 vote-getters. The game will be played at Minnesota’s Target Field on July 15.

Adrian Gonzalez leads National League first basemen in All-Star balloting.

Take that, Freddie Freeman!

Adrian Gonzalez is the only Dodgers position player leading the National League in all-star votes at his position, according to preliminary ballot results released today by MLB.

Gonzalez leads Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman — who edged Yasiel Puig for an All-Star nod in an online fan vote last year – by more than 40,000 votes as of this morning’s announcement.

Dee Gordon is the next-highest ranking Dodger at his position, but trails Philadelphia’s Chase Utley by more than 200,000 votes at second base. Juan Uribe ranks fourth among National League third baseman, Hanley Ramirez ranks fourth among NL shortstops, and Puig ranks fifth among NL outfielders. He trails Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon, Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen, Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun and Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton among NL outfielders.

The leading vote-getter at each position starts the annual All-Star Game at Target Field in July.

The full list of National League All-Star vote leaders:
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Dodgers option Pedro Baez to Double-A Chattanooga, activate Clayton Kershaw from the DL.

Clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw made two rehab starts before being activated from the disabled list today. (Jennifer Capuccio Maher/Staff Photographer)

The Dodgers optioned Pedro Baez to Double-A Chattanooga and activated Clayton Kershaw from the 15-day disabled list Tuesday. Kershaw will start tonight’s game against the Washington Nationals.

Baez made his major-league debut in the ninth inning of Monday night’s rain-delayed loss to the Washington Nationals. He allowed two runs to score and heads back to the minors with a career ERA of 18.00.

Kershaw hasn’t started since an Opening Day win in Sydney, Australia. He made two rehab starts following the diagnosis of a strained teres major muscle.

Yasiel Puig is sitting out for the second straight day after crashing into the wall in Miami. Adrian Gonzalez is getting his second day off of the season. Here are the lineups for both teams:
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Daily Distractions: Imagining a world in which the Dodgers and Clippers are owned by the same group.

Magic Johnson

Dodgers co-owner Magic Johnson is reportedly interested in buying the Clippers if Donald Sterling is forced to sell the team. (Getty Images)

Baseball’s Detroit Tigers and hockey’s Detroit Red Wings have been owned by the same man, Mike Ilitch, since 1992. There is little overlap between the MLB and NHL seasons, so it’s not hard to share the same core group of fans. There are no other MLB or NHL teams in town. For his part, Ilitch quickly turned the Red Wings from a loser into one of hockey’s most valuable brands. By the time he bought the Tigers, he had built up enough goodwill in the city to be welcomed by local baseball fans with open arms.

For those who question if it’s possible to own two teams in the same market, look no further than Detroit.

Los Angeles is not Detroit, of course, and it might be time to start asking questions in Southern California. Magic Johnson has reportedly expressed interest in buying the NBA’s Clippers from disgraced owner Donald Sterling. What would it look like if the Dodgers and Clippers were owned by the same group?

Fans already boo Clippers star Chris Paul whenever he’s shown on the video board at Dodger Stadium. Pau Gasol and other Lakers are cheered like the hometown team. Clearly, Dodger Stadium is a Laker stadium. This might get weird.

Or will it? If Johnson is the face of Dodger ownership, he’s also the face of the WNBA’s Sparks and Magic Johnson Theaters. His name is not synonymous with the Dodgers; it’s synonymous with “multiple business interests.” In theory, it should be easy to put the Clippers in the context of Another Magic Johnson Business Interest. Same goes for the other Guggenheim investors; it’s yet to be seen how many of them want in on the Clippers.

In practice, how weird this gets might depend on why Dodger fans boo Clipper players. Is it a knee-jerk reaction to the Clipper brand from Laker fans? Is it because of Sterling? Is it just a Chris Paul thing?

Sterling might be replaceable; we’ll find out soon enough. Paul’s time as a Clipper is inherently temporary. But if it’s a knee-jerk reaction from Laker fans, this might not go over well.

Johnson was a minority owner of the Lakers until 2010, when he sold his shares to Patrick Soon-Shiong, but that didn’t really change his status as a face of (and a mouthpiece for) the Lakers franchise. A world in which Magic Johnson owns the Clippers could be an uncomfortable one for Laker fans. This could be perceived as heel turn worse than Phil Jackson joining the Knicks’ front office.

Johnson said last October in Atlanta that Los Angeles can be both a Lakers town and a Dodgers town. Selling Dodger fans on the idea that this can be a Clipper town too might be beyond even Johnson’s long reach.

Some bullet points for an International Astronomy Day:
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Daily Distractions: Why Sunday’s sixth inning encouraged Dodgers manager Don Mattingly.

Andre Ethier

Andre Ethier and Adrian Gonzalez made outs in the sixth inning Sunday, but impressed Don Mattingly in the process. (John McCoy/Staff photographer)

The Dodgers hit four home runs Sunday against the San Francisco Giants, but that’s not what had Don Mattingly excited.

Hanley Ramirez can hit home runs. That’s no revelation. Even Matt Kemp, Mattingly said, had his power swing on display from the time he reported to camp, with his high follow-through leaving many pitching machines in Glendale, Arizona with stratospheric ERAs.

No, what had Mattingly excited was the sixth inning.

Ramirez led off with a double into the left-field corner. Adrian Gonzalez was next up, and he hit a ground ball directly into the Giants’ shift. First baseman Brandon Belt fielded the ball and tossed to pitcher Matt Cain covering first base for the out. That didn’t matter to Mattingly, because Ramirez advanced to third base, then scored on a deeply hit sacrifice fly by Andre Ethier.

“That was a big run for us,” Mattingly said. “They cut it to 4-2 with a couple homers there. Hanley starts the inning with a double, Adrian gets him over with the ground ball, Andre gets him in. Sometimes last year we didn’t get that done very well. I was encouraged by that tonight.”

Indeed, the biggest complaint about the Dodgers’ offense for the first six weeks of 2013 was its lack of situational hitting. On June 14, the Dodgers were 10 games below .500 and averaging 3.5 runs per game. From June 15 on, they averaged 4.3 runs per game. The arrivals of Yasiel Puig and Ramirez were integral. They added two dimensions the offense lacked, speed and power. More importantly, they didn’t make as many outs as the men they replaced. By extension, the Dodgers had more runners on base and had more success moving them over. Their situational hitting improved.

The Dodgers might never have another inning like the sixth this season. But if it becomes a trend, that’s one less way a lineup full of superstars can fail to score.

Some bullet points for an International Beaver Day:
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Dodgers 3, Colorado Rockies 3: Of course spring training ends in a tie.

Hyun-Jin Ryu

Hyun-Jin Ryu threw 5 1/3 innings and allowed one earned run in his final Cactus League start. (Associated Press photo)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Dodgers ended the Cactus League portion of their season the only appropriate way: With a tie.

The Colorado Rockies scored a run in the seventh inning off Chris Withrow, tying the game 3-3, and the Dodgers’ final game in North America until March 27 ended in a tie. It was the Dodgers’ fifth tie in 21 exhibition games, giving them a final spring training record of 6-10-5.

Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu allowed two runs and seven hits in 5 ⅓ innings. Not unusually, he encountered the most trouble early.

Charlie Blackmon led off the game with a single but was picked off the bag. In the second inning, the Rockies got back-to-back singles by Matt McBride and Charlie Culberson. Both runners advanced a base when Ryu’s pickoff throw to second base got away from everyone for a throwing error.

The second inning ended on a dramatic double play — for a minute. McBride, trying to score on a sacrifice fly to right field by Jordan Pacheco, was out at home plate on a nearly 300-foot throw by Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig. Rockies manager Walt Weiss challenged the call. One television replay clearly showed that Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis missed McBride on his tag attempt. The umpires don’t always have the same vantage point when reviewing a call in Cactus League play, but the crew correctly overturned the call.

The Dodgers players had all retreated to the dugout after the apparent inning-ending double play. They filed back onto the field, Ryu made a couple warm-up tosses, then got D.J. LeMahieu to pop out on one pitch.

Adrian Gonzalez‘s single through a drawn-in infield scored Carl Crawford with the Dodgers’ first run. With Gonzalez on first base, Juan Uribe hit an RBI to the left-center field gap, scoring Gonzalez with the go-ahead run.

In the fifth inning, Gonzalez hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to drive in Ryu and pad the Dodgers’ lead. Ryu drew a walk to lead off the inning against Jordan Lyles and Carl Crawford followed with a single up the middle. Right-hander Bruce Kern relieved Lyles and allowed a single to left field by Hanley Ramirez that loaded the bases. Gonzalez’s fly ball to center field was plenty deep for Ryu to tag up and score without a throw.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Ryu gave up a solo home run to Nolan Arenado on a 2-2 fastball at the knees, bringing the Rockies within 3-2.

Chris Perez, J.P. Howell and Kenley Jansen didn’t allow a run out of the bullpen.

The Dodgers finished with a cumulative attendance of 114,402 in 12 home dates at Camelback Ranch for an average of 9,534, the highest average attendance since the team relocated Spring Training to Arizona in 2009. Last year, the Dodgers drew 133,460 in 17 home dates (including one WBC game) for an average of 7,851.

The box score is here.