Canadians in the Majors – August 7
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 saw regular action in right field for the Tigers this past week. In six games, he went 5-for-22 (.227 batting average) and belted his first home run of the season. It was a solo shot off Baltimore Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman in the first inning of the Tigers’ 5-2 win on Friday. The Burnaby, B.C., native has battled back from a right oblique injury that sidelined him from May 10 to June 27 and he's now 19-for-74 (.257 batting average) for the Tigers this season and owns a .337 on-base percentage (OBP).
John Axford, Port Dover, Ont., Free Agent
Axford was released by the Oakland A’s on Tuesday. The 6-foot-5 reliever hasn’t found his form yet 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 enjoyed a solid week at the plate, going 8-for-25 (.320 batting average) with two home runs to bring his season total to 20. The left-handed hitting infielder has returned to his regular first base position after playing third base for the bulk of the previous three weeks. He agreed to switch to third after returning from a broken wrist on July 4 to keep the hot hitting bat of first baseman Matt Adams in the lineup. Adams has since been moved to left field. After competing for Canada in this year’s World Baseball Classic as a tribute to his late mother, Freeman was enjoying an MVP-calibre season before he was hit by a pitch from Toronto Blue Jays left-hander Aaron Loup and fractured his wrist in the fifth inning of the Braves’ 8-4 win on May 17. Freeman’s 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 went 5-for-22 (.227 batting average) and belted his 11th and 12th home runs of the season in six games this past week. The 34-year-old veteran, who continues to hit in the No. 2 spot in the Blue Jays lineup, is now batting .226 for the season, while his OBP is a very respectable .356.
James Paxton, Ladner, B.C., Seattle Mariners
It was a dream week for Paxton who after going 6-0 with a 1.37 ERA and allowing just 25 hits in 39-1/3 innings in July, was named American League Pitcher of the Month on Thursday. He was also named co-winner of the American League Player of the Week (along with Adrian Beltre) for the 13 shutout innings he tossed in two starts on July 24 and July 30. Paxton followed that up by limiting the Kansas City Royals to just two runs in six innings to pick up his 12th win of 2017 on Friday. For the season, he now owns a 12-3 record with a 2.70 ERA and has 132 strikeouts in 113-1/3 innings in 19 starts
Nick Pivetta, Victoria, B.C., Philadelphia Phillies
After holding the Atlanta Braves to one run in six innings on Monday to pick up his fourth win, Pivetta was rocked in his Saturday start by the Colorado Rockies. He allowed six earned runs in 2-2/3 innings to drop his record to 4-7. His season ERA now sits at 5.89 in 16 starts and he has fanned 84 batters in 84 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 in the World Baseball Classic.
Michael Saunders, Victoria, B.C., Toronto Blue Jays
The former All-Star’s bat was just starting to heat up with the triple-A Buffalo Bisons when he sustained a hip flexor injury. He was placed on the seven-day disabled list on Tuesday. The last game action he saw was on July 29 when he went 2-for-5 against the Louisville Bats. Saunders, who was hitting .224 in 19 games with the Bisons, was released by the Philadelphia Phillies on June 25 after batting .205 with a .257 OBP in 50 games earlier this season.
Jameson Taillon, Canadian Citizen, Pittsburgh Pirates
On Tuesday, Taillon was hit hard for his second straight start when he permitted eight runs on 11 hits in 3-2/3 innings to the Cincinnati Reds in the Pirates’ 9-1 loss. But he redeemed himself on Sunday by holding the San Diego Padres to two runs in 6 1/3 innings in a contest the Pirates eventually won 5-4 in 12 innings. The 6-foot-7, 230-pound hurler has now made 10 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 6-5 with a 4.60 ERA with 84 strikeouts in 86 innings in 16 starts with the Pirates this season.
Jesen Therrien, Montreal, Que., Philadelphia Phillies
After hurling a scoreless sixth inning against the Atlanta Braves in his major league debut on July 29, Therrien was victimized for three runs in 1/3 of an inning by the Braves just two days later. The 6-foot-2 right-hander returned to the mound for the Phils on Wednesday and tossed a scoreless eighth inning against the Los Angeles Angels. 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
Now riding an 11-game hitting streak, Votto has been hot, going 9-for-19 (.474 batting average) with two home runs in six games over the past week. His three-run home run off St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright in the first inning on Sunday was the 250th of his major league career. The Cincinnati Reds first baseman leads the National League in walks (83) and is third in OBP (.435) and tied for third in home runs (29).