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.