Glew's Canuck Big League Look: Axford, Martin, Paxton, Votto
Canadians in the Majors – July 17
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 left-handed hitting outfielder has a five-game hitting streak for the triple-A Toledo Mud Hens in which he has gone 7-for-20 (.350 batting average) with two home runs and five RBIs. The Burnaby, B.C., native was 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 Detroit Tigers before he strained his right oblique during batting practice prior to a game on May 10. After being sidelined for over a month and a half, Adduci began a rehab assignment with the Mud Hens on June 27 and was assigned to the triple-A club when that was complete. Adduci, who turned 32 in May, suited up for parts of two major league seasons with the Texas Rangers in 2013 and 2014 prior to starring for the Lotte Giants of the Korean Baseball Organization in 2015 and 2016.
John Axford, Port Dover, Ont., Oakland A’s
The 34-year-old right-hander has not pitched since July 9 when he allowed a run on two hits in 1/3 of an inning. But with the Oakland A’s dealing relievers Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle to the Washington Nationals yesterday, Axford is likely to see more late-inning work for the club, despite his 6.30 ERA in 20 appearances this season.
Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves
Freeman went 2-for-12 in the Braves’ three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks after the All-Star break. One of his hits was a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth inning in the series' first game that helped propel the Braves to 4-3 win. Freeman has played third base in seven of nine games since returning from a broken wrist on July 4 and has made only one error. He agreed to switch to third to keep the hot hitting bat of first baseman Matt Adams in the Braves' 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 played in two games in the Blue Jays' series against the Tigers after the All-Star break and was 1-for-8 with a walk. The 34-year-old vet, who continues to hit in the No. 2 spot in the Blue Jays lineup, is now batting .230 for the season, while his OBP is an impressive .372.
James Paxton, Ladner, B.C., Seattle Mariners
After a rough June that saw him post a 7.20 ERA in five starts, Paxton has found his form again in July. On Friday, he allowed just two runs and struck out nine in six innings to lead the Seattle Mariners to a 4-2 win over the Chicago White Sox. In three starts this month, the Canadian lefty is 3-0 with a 2.33 ERA and has allowed just nine hits in 19-1/3 innings. For the season, he now owns an 8-3 record with a 3.19 ERA and has 100 strikeouts in 87-1/3 innings in 15 starts.
Nick Pivetta, Victoria, B.C., Philadelphia Phillies
Pivetta was roughed up in his start against the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday, allowing nine runs in five innings – eight of those runs, however, were scored in the second inning. The 6-foot-5 right-hander's season ERA now sits at 5.63 in 12 starts and he has fanned 67 batters in 64 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 has not played since July 8 and there have been no updates from the Blue Jays or the triple-A Buffalo Bisons about his status. After three games with the class-A Advanced Dunedin Blue Jays, Pompey was promoted to the triple-A Bisons on July 4 as part of his latest rehab stint. The speedy outfielder had gone 1-for-15 in four games with the Bisons. The latest injury that Pompey had been rehabbing from was a leg injury he sustained on June 4 in his previous rehab stint with the Bisons. This came after he 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 2016 all-star has yet to find his stroke with the triple-A Buffalo Bisons. Saunders was 1-for-16 in four games with the Bisons this past week and is now 6-for-50 (.120 batting average) in 13 contests since signing a minor league deal with the Blue Jays on June 28. He 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 surrendered four runs on eight hits in five innings in the Pirates’ 4-0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday. It was the 6-foot-7, 230-pound hurler’s third loss of the season and his sixth 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 5-3 with a 3.06 ERA with 64 strikeouts in 67-2/3 innings in 12 starts with the Pirates this season.
Joey Votto, Etobicoke, Ont., Cincinnati Reds
After he was 0-for-1 with a walk in the All-Star Game in Miami on Tuesday, Votto had a rough series against the Washington Nationals, going 0-for-7 with four walks. The Cincinnati Reds first baseman still leads the National League in home runs (26) and walks (66) and ranks second in slugging percentage (.617) and on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) (1.042).