A.J. Ellis’ wife gave birth in a car while he drove to hospital

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A.J. Ellis finally getting an extended chance in the majors at age 31 and emerging as the Dodgers’ starting catcher was a pretty good story, but Ellis’ wife giving birth to their third child tops it pretty easily.

Molly Knight of ESPN.com has the details:

On Oct. 12, Ellis’ wife, Cindy, gave birth to the couple’s third child in the front seat of their car on Interstate 43 South just outside Milwaukee. Ellis–who estimates he was traveling 75 mph down the highway in a futile attempt to make it to the hospital–didn’t even have a chance to pull the vehicle off to the side of the road before the baby arrived. …

“The doctor she likes is about 30 miles from our house,” said Ellis, who makes his home in Milwaukee in the offseason. “But with our other kids she was in labor for hours and hours, so we thought we had plenty of time.” …

She began screaming at her husband that she didn’t think they were going to make it to the hospital. “And I’m thinking, this is 2012, not the ‘Oregon Trail.’ Of course we’re gonna make it,” Ellis said. “So I’m calmly telling her we’re making it. I figured she was just panicking because she was in excruciating pain.”

Two weeks later mom and daughter are both doing well, and according to Ellis “the vehicle has since reacquired that new car smell” thanks to a trip to the car wash.

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.