Canadians in the Majors – July 24
By Kevin Glew
This is our weekly rundown of how Canadians are faring in the major leagues:
Jim Adduci, Burnaby, B.C., Detroit Tigers
The Tigers called up Adduci from triple-A on Tuesday after they dealt slugger J.D. Martinez to the Arizona Diamondbacks for three infield prospects. Earlier this season, Adduci had been enjoying his finest stretch as a big leaguer, batting .318 with a .388 on-base percentage (OBP) and a .500 slugging percentage in 13 games with the Tigers before he strained his right oblique during batting practice prior to a game on May 10. After being sidelined for a month-and-a-half, he began a rehab assignment with the Toledo Mud Hens on June 27 and after that was complete, he was assigned to the triple-A club. He was on a six-game hitting streak with the Mud Hens, going 9-for-25 (.360 batting average), with two home runs and seven RBI, prior to being called up. Since being promoted to the Tigers on Tuesday, Adduci is 0-for-3 with a walk.
John Axford, Port Dover, Ont., Oakland A’s
The 34-year-old right-hander pitched a shutout inning for the A’s in their 7-5 loss to New York Mets on Friday. It was his first appearance in 12 days. Axford’s season ERA now sits at 6.00 ERA in 21 appearances this season.
Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves
Freeman has gone 7-for-24 (.292 batting average) in his past seven games for the Braves. One of his hits was a solo home run in the Braves’ 12-3 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday. Freeman has played third base in nine of 15 games and has made only one error since returning from a broken wrist on July 4. He agreed to switch to third after returning to keep the hot hitting bat of first baseman Matt Adams in the lineup. 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 is mired in a post All-Star break hitting slump. In five games this past week, he was 2-for-21 (.095 batting average), with three walks and four runs. The 34-year-old vet, who continues to bat in the No. 2 spot in the Blue Jays lineup, is now hitting .217 for the season, while his OBP is .356.
James Paxton, Ladner, B.C., Seattle Mariners
After a rough June that saw him post a 7.20 ERA in five starts, Ladner, B.C., native James Paxton has put himself in the running for American League Pitcher of the Month honors for July. On Wednesday, he allowed just one run in seven innings to propel the Seattle Mariners to a 4-1 win over the American League-leading Houston Astros. In four starts this month, the Canadian lefty is 4-0 with a 2.05 ERA and has allowed just 15 hits in 26-1/3 innings. For the season, he now owns a 9-3 record with a 3.05 ERA and has 107 strikeouts in 94-1/3 innings in 16 starts.
Nick Pivetta, Victoria, B.C., Philadelphia Phillies
Pivetta picked up his third major league win on Wednesday when he limited the Miami Marlins to three runs on five hits in 5-1/3 innings in the Phillies’ 10-3 win. His season ERA now sits at 5.58 in 13 starts and he has fanned 71 batters in 69-1/3 innings. Chosen in the fourth round of the 2013 MLB amateur draft by the Washington Nationals, he was dealt to the Phillies for closer Jonathan Papelbon on July 28, 2015.
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 Wednesday 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 is starting to heat up with the triple-A Buffalo Bisons. The left-handed hitting outfielder is in the midst of a five-game hitting streak in which he has gone 9-for-21 (.429). He has had three multi-hit games during the past week and also launched his first home run with the Bisons on Saturday. Saunders was released by the Philadelphia Phillies on June 25 after batting .205 with a .257 OBP in 50 games this season. Following his career-best campaign with the Blue Jays last year, Saunders inked a guaranteed one-year, $9-million contract with the Phillies in January.
Jameson Taillon, Canadian Citizen, Pittsburgh Pirates
Taillon allowed just two runs and struck out eight in 5-1/3 innings on Wednesday to lead the Pirates to a 4-2 win over the Milwaukee Brewers. It was the 6-foot-7, 230-pound hurler’s sixth win of the season and his seventh start back since undergoing surgery for testicular cancer on May 8. Taillon, who was selected second overall in the 2010 MLB amateur draft and whose parents are Canadian, is now 6-3 with a 3.08 ERA with 72 strikeouts in 73 innings in 13 starts with the Pirates this season.
Joey Votto, Etobicoke, Ont., Cincinnati Reds
Votto is just 4-for-33 (.121 batting average) since the All-Star break. He does, however, have nine walks during that stretch. The Cincinnati Reds first baseman still leads the National League in walks (71) and ranks third in home runs (26).