Canadians in the Majors – August 21
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 was in his third stint with the big league Tigers this season when he was sent back to the triple-A Toledo Mud Hens on August 12. In seven triple-A games since his most recent demotion, he has gone 6-for-29 (.207). Four of those hits came on Tuesday in the Mud Hen’s 5-3 win over the Charlotte Knights. The Burnaby, B.C., has battled back from a right oblique injury that sidelined him from May 10 to June 27. In 29 contests 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
The Seattle Mariners acquired Albers from the Atlanta Braves for cash considerations on August 11 and he started on Tuesday in place of fellow Canadian lefty James Paxton (Ladner, B.C.) who’s sidelined with a left pectoral muscle strain. Albers held the Baltimore Orioles to one run in five innings in that contest to pick up his first major league win in four years. The 31-year-old southpaw is slated to make his second start for the Mariners tonight. Albers had posted a 12-3 record with a 2.61 ERA and had fanned 115 batters in 120-2/3 innings for the triple-A Gwinnett Braves prior to being dealt to the M’s. Albers had previously registered a 4.41 ERA in 17 big league contests in parts of three seasons with the Minnesota Twins and Toronto Blue Jays between 2013 and 2016.
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 is enjoying a nine-game hitting streak, going 16-for-39 (.410 batting average) during that stretch. He belted his 22nd home run of the season on Thursday off Colorado Rockies starter Jeff Hoffman in the Braves’ 10-4 win. 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 was placed on the 10-day disabled on August 12 with a left oblique strain. It’s difficult to provide a definitive timeline for his return, but he’s expected to be out a minimum of two weeks. The 34-year-old vet 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
The Seattle Mariners lefty exited his start on August 10 with a left pectoral muscle strain. He was placed on the 10-day disabled list the following day and will reportedly miss about three weeks. 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
Pivetta allowed three earned runs in five innings and struck out a career-high 11 batters in the Phillies’ 3-0 loss to the San Diego Padres on Wednesday. Pivetta was sent down to triple-A after the game, but will be recalled to start the second game of the Phillies' doubleheader on Tuesday. In 18 big league starts this season, the 6-foot-5 right-hander is 4-8 with a 6.25 ERA and he has fanned 99 batters in 93-2/3 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
Saunders had hit safely in eight straight games for the triple-A Buffalo Bisons after returning from a hip flex injury on August 8 before he went 0-for-4 on Sunday. In his last nine games, he is 14-for-40 (.350 batting average) with a home run and five RBI. The left-handed hitting outfielder’s batting average with the Bisons has risen to .267. 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 four runs in five innings and fanned seven in his start against the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday. The Cards eventually won the game 11-7, but Taillon did not receive a decision. It was the 6-foot-7, 230-pound hurler’s 11th start back 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 4.64 ERA with 98 strikeouts in 97 innings in 18 starts with the Pirates this season.
Jesen Therrien, Montreal, Que., Philadelphia Phillies
Therrien allowed just one hit in four scoreless innings in three relief appearances this past week. His ERA now sits at 5.79 in nine 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 had reached base at least twice in 20 consecutive games until his streak was snapped on Wednesday. He fell one game short of tying Ted Williams’ record for most consecutive games reaching base two or more times. Aside from Williams, the only other players since 1900 to have reached base at least twice in 20 consecutive games are Pete Rose (1979) and Barry Bonds (2004). After Votto’s streak ended on Wednesday, he then reached base two or more times in three straight games, prior to only getting on base once on Sunday. Votto currently leads the National League with a .447 on-base percentage and 101 walks.