Five Canadians on MLB Opening Day rosters

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By: Adam Morissette

Baseball Canada

OTTAWA- The 2017 Major League Baseball season is officially underway and five Canadians are scattered among the circuit’s 30 clubs.

In 2016, six Canadians were on opening day rosters, while a total of 13 Canadians played in at least one regular season game.

A modern-day record 26 Canadians appeared in the big leagues in 2011.

Coming off two consecutive trips to the American league Championship Series, Russell Martin (Montréal, QC) returns to the Toronto Blue Jays for the third consecutive season as the starting catcher on Canada’s only major league club.

Port Dover, Ontario native John Axford return to the Oakland Athletics after inking a two-year deal with the club prior to the 2016 season, while Ladner, BC native James Paxton is firmly entrenched into the Seattle Mariners starting rotation.

Coming off his first All-Star Game appearance with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2016, Victoria’s Michael Saunders signed as a free agent with the Philadelphia Phillies in the off-season in what will be his first stint with a National League club.

Perennial MVP candidate Joey Votto (Etobicoke, ON) hit over .400 in the second half of the 2016 season and finished with a .326 batting average, 29 home runs and 97 RBI to finish seventh in National League MVP voting. The 2010 NL MVP winner is entering his 11th major league season.

Blue Jays outfielder Dalton Pompey (Mississauga, ON) is on the 10-day disabled list to start the season after suffering a concussion playing for Canada at the World Baseball Classic in March.

Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman (Fountain Valley, CA) and Pittsburgh Pirates starter Jameson Taillon (The Woodlands, TX) have both represented Canada in international competition due to their parents’ Canadian citizenship.

AL East

Toronto Blue Jays - C Russell Martin (Montréal, QC)

AL West

Oakland Athletics – RHP John Axford (Port Dover, ON)
Seattle Mariners – LHP James Paxton (Ladner, BC)

NL East

Philadelphia Phillies – OF Michael Saunders (Victoria, BC)

NL Central

Cincinnati Reds - 1B Joey Votto (Etobicoke, ON)

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.