Votto leads 15 Canucks in big-league camps

Feb. 24, 2016

Fifteen Canadians in big league spring training

By Adam Morissette
It may not feel like spring in parts of Canada, but across locations in Florida and Arizona spring training is underway for all 30  Major League Baseball clubs that includes 15 Canadians among those in big league camp.

Leading the way is Canada’s only MLB club, the reigning American League East Champion Toronto Blue Jays, who have four Canadians in their big league camp: catcher Russell Martin (Montréal, Que.) headlines a group that includes outfielders Michael Saunders (Victoria, BC) and Dalton Pompey (Mississauga, Ont.) on the 40-man roster, while left-handed pitcher Scott Diamond (Guelph, Ont.) is in camp with the Jays as a non-roster invitee. 

Diamond pitched for Canada last fall at Premier 12 in Taiwan.

The Chicago White Sox retooled their roster in the offseason bringing in Canadian infielder Brett Lawrie (Langley, BC) among others. Lawrie is currently in camp with the White Sox and is joined by former Junior National Team teammate (2006, 2007) Phillippe Aumont (Gatineau, Que.), and former Philadelphia Phillies prospect Colin Kleven who are both in White Sox camp as non-roster invitees. Aumont wore the red and white twice last summer, first as a member of the Canadian team that captured a gold medal at the Pan Am Games and again last fall at Premier 12.

Cincinnati Reds superstar Joey Votto (Etobicoke, Ont.) is coming off a season in 2015 that saw him finish third in National League MVP voting after hitting .314 with 29 homeruns, 80 RBIs and .459 on-base percentage. 
Votto is joined in the Cactus League by reliever John Axford (Port Dover, Ont.) who inked a two-year deal with the Oakland A’s in the offseason, and Seattle Mariners starting pitcher James Paxton (Ladner, BC).

Five Canadians are in big league camps with clubs as non-roster invitees including LHP Adam Loewen (Surrey, BC) with the Arizona Diamondbacks, C George Kottaras (Scarborough, Ont.) with the San Francisco Giants, RHP Jim Henderson (Calgary, Alta.) with the New York Mets, C Kellin Deglan (Langley, BC) with the Texas Rangers and RHP Chris Leroux (Mississauga, Ont.) with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Deglan and Leroux played for Canada in 2015 at the Pan Am Games and at Premier 12.

During the 2015 MLB season, 13 Canadians appeared in at least one regular season game.

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Adam Morissette

Adam Morissette was born and raised in Ottawa, Ont. where sports were always a big part of his life whether it be baseball, hockey or football, including playing two seasons as centre for coach Pat Sheahan with the Queen's University Golden Gaels in Kingston -- Canada's first capital. Morissette has always have been passionate about baseball and has fond memories of attending Montreal Expos games with his father, Mike, and listening to his recollection of watching baseball in Montreal at Jarry Park and stories about Gary Carter, Rusty Staub and Steve Rodgers. Morissette could often be found in a near empty Lynx Stadium watching Joe Siddall, Bert Heffernan, Curtis Pride and Jamie Carroll soaking in a beautiful summer night at the ballpark. He was a member of the provincial championship Orleans Red Sox Little League teams also played with the Ottawa White Sox for the late Lyle Anderson and Todd Burke in OBA Midget and American Legion play and the Capital City Crushers (NCBL), primarily as a catcher. Has also spent time coaching Little League in Orleans and South Ottawa. He wanted to turn his passion into a career and enrolled in Sport Business Management at Algonquin College in Ottawa in 2007. After working for the Ottawa 67's OHL team as the Ticket Coordinator, Morissette jumped at the opportunity to become the Media and Public Relations Coordinator with Baseball Canada in 2010. He loves watching and reading about pro, college or amateur baseball and is a long-time subscriber to Baseball America. Morissette is thrilled about the idea of writing about baseball and is interested in covering any story that his car -- and time -- will allow him to cover.