Canadians in the Majors – August 28
By Kevin Glew
This is my weekly rundown of how Canadians are faring in the major leagues:
Jim Adduci, Burnaby, B.C., Detroit Tigers
Adduci has enjoyed three separate big league stints with the Detroit Tigers this season, but he has been with the triple-A Toledo Mud Hens since August 12. In seven triple-A contests this past week, he went 10-for-27 (.370) and had four two-hit games and four RBI. The Burnaby, B.C., has battled back from a right oblique injury that sidelined him from May 10 to June 27. In 29 games with the Tigers this season, he is 20-for-83 (.241 batting average) and he owns a .323 on-base percentage (OBP).
Andrew Albers, North Battleford, Sask., Seattle Mariners
After picking up his second win in as many big league starts this season on Monday, Albers was a victim of some sloppy Mariners’ defence against the New York Yankees yesterday. The Mariners committed a team-record five errors in the first inning which led to six Yankees’ runs. Albers persevered to toss five innings and allowed eight runs but only three of them were earned and was saddled with the loss in the Bombers’ 10-1 win. The Mariners acquired Albers from the Atlanta Braves for cash considerations on August 11 and he has assumed the rotation spot of fellow Canadian lefty James Paxton (Ladner, B.C.) who’s sidelined with a left pectoral muscle strain. In three starts with the Mariners this season, Albers is 2-1 with a 4.20 ERA and has 11 strikeouts in 15 innings.
John Axford, Port Dover, Ont., Free Agent
The Oakland A’s released Axford on August 1 and he remains a free agent. The 6-foot-5 reliever had troubles finding his form this season after beginning the campaign on the disabled list with a right shoulder injury. In 22 appearances with the A’s, he walked 17 batters in 21 innings and posted a 6.43 ERA.
Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves
Freeman went 5-for-19 (.263 batting average) with six walks and four RBI in six games this past week. The Braves first baseman competed for Canada in this year’s World Baseball Classic as a tribute to his late mother. His mother, Rosemary, who was born in Toronto and grew up in Peterborough, Ont., eventually moved to Windsor, Ont., where she met Freeman’s father, Fred, and the couple moved to California. Freeman’s mother passed away after battling cancer in 2000 at age 47 when Freeman was 10.
Russell Martin, Montreal, Que., Toronto Blue Jays
Martin was placed on the 10-day disabled on August 12 with a left oblique strain. Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun indicated in a tweet on August 19 that Martin had gone to Dunedin, Fla., for some rehab work and was not close to returning. Martin did return to Toronto yesterday to host his annual Poker Classic at Rogers Centre to raise money for the Jays Care Foundation. The 34-year-old catcher has batted .223 with 12 home runs in 81 games this season, while his OBP is a healthy .354.
James Paxton, Ladner, B.C., Seattle Mariners
Ryan Divish of the The Seattle Times reported on Saturday that Paxton, who has been sidelined since August 11 with a left pectoral muscle strain, has started to play catch. Divish speculates, however, that it could be three weeks before the Canadian lefty returns to the Mariners. After going 6-0 with a 1.37 ERA in July, Paxton was named the American League Pitcher of the Month. With a 12-3 record and a 2.78 ERA and 138 strikeouts in 119 2/3 innings in 20 starts overall, Paxton had put himself in the conversation for the American League Cy Young Award. This marks the 6-foot-4 southpaw’s second stint on the DL this season. He was previously sidelined from May 5 to May 31 with a left forearm strain.
Nick Pivetta, Victoria, B.C., Philadelphia Phillies
In two starts for the Phillies this week, Pivetta won one and lost one. The Miami Marlins knocked the 6-foot-5 right-hander out of his Tuesday start when they scored six runs off of him in 1-1/3 innings, but Pivetta rebounded to hold the reigning World Champion Chicago Cubs to two earned runs in five innings on Sunday to notch his fifth win of the season. In 20 big league starts in 2017, he is 5-9 with a 6.57 ERA and he has fanned 106 batters in 100 innings.
Dalton Pompey, Mississauga, Ont., Toronto Blue Jays
Pompey’s season appears to be over. The Blue Jays moved the speedy Mississauga, Ont., native to the 60-day disabled list on July 19 due to a nagging knee injury. Pompey has not played since appearing in a game for the triple-A Buffalo Bisons on July 8. As part of his latest rehab assignment, after three games with the class-A Advanced Dunedin Blue Jays, Pompey was promoted to the Bisons on July 4. The speedy outfielder had gone 1-for-15 in four games with the Bisons. The knee injury comes after Pompey was sidelined for nearly two months with a concussion after taking a knee to his head when sliding into second base in Canada’s second game of the World Baseball Classic.
Michael Saunders, Victoria, B.C., Toronto Blue Jays
Saunders appeared in just three games this past week as the triple-A Buffalo Bisons ease him back into the lineup after his return from a hip flex injury earlier in the month. He went 5-for-13 (.357 batting average) in that trio of games and has raised his batting average with the Bisons to .279. Saunders was released by the Philadelphia Phillies on June 25 after batting .205 with a .257 OBP in 50 games earlier this season. Following his career-best campaign with the Blue Jays last season, Saunders inked a guaranteed one-year, $9-million contract with the Phillies in January.
Jameson Taillon, Canadian Citizen, Pittsburgh Pirates
Taillon allowed six earned runs in nine innings in two starts this past week. He failed to record a decision in either start. They were the 6-foot-7, 230-pound hurler’s 12th and 13th starts since undergoing surgery for testicular cancer on May 8. Taillon, who was selected second overall in the 2010 MLB draft and whose parents are Canadian, is now 7-5 with a 4.75 ERA with 103 strikeouts in 106 innings in 20 starts with the Pirates this season.
Jesen Therrien, Montreal, Que., Philadelphia Phillies
It was a rough week for Therrien out of the Phillies bullpen. The Montreal native permitted seven earned runs in 3-2/3 innings in four appearances. His ERA now sits at 9.00 in 13 contests for the Phillies this season. Scouted by Canadian Alex Agostino, Therrien was selected in the 17th round of the 2011 MLB draft by the Phillies. Now in his sixth season in the Phillies organization, the 24-year-old hurler had been dominant in double-A and triple-A in 2017, posting a combined 1.41 ERA in 57-1/3 innings while registering 65 strikeouts.
Joey Votto, Etobicoke, Ont., Cincinnati Reds
Votto tied a Cincinnati Reds’ team record when he walked five times in the same game on Sunday. That performance ended a week that saw him go 4-for-19 (.211 batting average) and wallop his 33rd home run of the season on Wednesday. Votto leads the National League with a .447 on-base percentage and 109 walks.