By Adam Morissette
OTTAWA- Fittingly, Canada’s only Major League Baseball club, the Toronto Blue Jays, feature the highest number of Canadian players in the big league spring training this year with five.
The San Diego Padres are next with three, while the Pittsburgh Pirates boast two after signing former All-Star Michael Saunders (Victoria, B.C.) earlier today. The Pirates can throw in starting pitcher Jameson Taillon who represented Canada at the 2013 World Baseball Classic for good measure.
The Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Detroit Tigers, Milwaukee Brewers, Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals and Seattle Mariners all have one Canuck in their major league camp.
The breakdown for Canadians in big league camp sees eight of them part of their respective clubs’ 40-man roster while the remaining 10 are on minor league contracts with invites to the main camp.
In 2017, nine Canadians appeared in the big leagues after five began the season on Opening Day rosters. A modern-day record 26 Canadians appeared in the big leagues in 2011.
Canadians in big league camp:
Toronto Blue Jays
C Russell Martin (Montréal, QC)
OF Dalton Pompey (Mississauga, ON)
RHP John Axford (Port Dover, ON)
RHP Andrew Case (Saint John, NB)
RHP Jordan Romano (Markham, ON)
RHP Mike Soroka (Calgary, AB)
LHP Rob Zastryzny (Edmonton, AB)
1B Joey Votto (Etobicoke, ON)
OF Jim Adduci (Burnaby, BC)
C Dustin Houle (Penticton, BC)
RHP Nick Pivetta (Victoria, BC)
OF Michael Saunders (Victoria, BC)
3B Eric Wood (Oshawa, ON)
St. Louis Cardinals
OF Tyler O’Neill (Maple Ridge, BC)
San Diego Padres
RHP Rowan Wick (North Vancouver, BC)
1B Josh Naylor (Mississauga, ON)
RHP Cal Quantrill (Port Hope, ON)
LHP James Paxton (Ladner, BC)
*Bold indicates player on 40-man roster