22 surgeries, $55 million and one Hall of Fame

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Darren Dreifort is going to be honored with induction into the national surgery hall of fame.

Actually, the oft-injured and frequently maligned former Dodgers
pitcher will be entering the College Baseball Hall of Fame. But is
there any doubt he could qualify for both?

The L.A. Times notes
that Dreifort will be inducted on Friday in Lubbock, Texas, assuming,
in his words, “whether I can walk, or how well I’m getting around.”

It’s nice to see the right-hander honored for his accomplishments at
Wichita State, but is a painful reminder for Dodgers fans of how
injuries derailed the career of a promising pitcher chosen one spot
behind Alex Rodriguez in the 1993 draft. The Dodgers paid Dreifort
nearly $64 million over the course of his career, including a $55
million deal before the 2001 season. For all that money, they got a
48-60 record and 274 appearances as a starter and reliever over parts
of 11 seasons.

The grisly details:

  • Dreifort just had his 22nd surgery, this one on his hip.
  • It was his 20th surgery since leaving college, and his eighth since his last game with the Dodgers, Aug. 16, 2004.
  • Has had two elbow reconstructions, and twice sat out entire seasons.
  • And even though retired, his luck has not changed.

    These days, Dreifort appears to be in peak condition, dressed for
    an interview in shorts, a tight T-shirt and running shoes. He notes,
    however, that he experiences almost constant pain.

    “I’m doing nothing,” he says on the eve of his most recent visit to the operating room, “and I’m still having surgery.”

    Pirates looking for outside outfield help

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    Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Pirates GM Neal Huntington is looking for outside outfield help in the wake of Starling Marte‘s 80-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs. With Marte out of the picture, the club moved Andrew McCutchen back to center field and have played Adam Frazier, John Jaso, and Jose Osuna in right field. But, as Brink points out, Osuna and Jaso — neither an outfielder by trade — misplayed balls over the weekend against the Yankees.

    Among available free agents, the pickings are slim. There’s Coco Crisp, Jeff Francoeur, Cole Gillespie, Kelly Johnson, and Nolan Reimold (who is currently in independent baseball). The Pirates may have to find themselves a trade partner. They could also try to talk Angel Pagan back into action, as the veteran outfielder recently said he’s taking the year off. The Pirates could also look at Leonys Martin, who was recently designated for assignment by the Mariners.

    Matt Barnes ejected after throwing at Manny Machado’s head

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    On Friday, tension between the Orioles and Red Sox rose when Manny Machado spiked Dustin Pedroia sliding into second base. Although the umpires found no fault with Machado’s slide, third base coach Brian Butterfield was later ejected, still feeling like Machado wronged the Red Sox. Pedroia exited the game and was not in the lineup on Saturday or Sunday. He’ll undergo an MRI for his left knee and ankle in Boston on Monday.

    For what it’s worth, Pedroia didn’t seem to feel any bitterness towards Machado for his slide. As MLB.com’s Jeff Seidel reported, Pedroia said, “I don’t even know what the rule is. I’ve turned the best double play in the Major Leagues for 11 years. I don’t need a … rule. The rule’s irrelevant. The rule’s for people with bad footwork.”

    Tempers flared between the Red Sox and Orioles again on Sunday. In the bottom of the eighth inning with a runner on first base and one out with the Red Sox leading 6-0, reliever Matt Barnes threw a first-pitch fastball up-and-in to Machado. The ball actually hit Machado’s bat, so it counted as a foul ball. Home plate umpire Andy Fletcher ejected Barnes and the Red Sox brought in Joe Kelly. Machado doubled on the first pitch Kelly threw to put the Orioles on the board, but the Orioles ultimately lost 6-2.

    MASN’s broadcast later showed Pedroia talking to Machado, seemingly clarifying that Barnes acted of his own volition without encouragement from Pedroia. “You know that,” Pedroia appeared to say. “It wasn’t me. It’s them.”

    Update: Pedroia even apologized to Machado and the Orioles, per Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal.

    Commissioner Rob Manfred will likely look into Sunday’s incident. He could fine and/or suspend Barnes.

    The Orioles and Red Sox meet again in Boston for a four-game series May 1-4. It will be interesting to see if the tension still remains then.