Canadians in the Majors – August 14
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 went 1-for-9 in four games for the Tigers this past week, before he was sent back to the triple-A Toledo Mud Hens on Saturday. This was his third stint with the big league club in 2017. The Burnaby, B.C., native 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).
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 enjoyed a strong week at the plate, going 7-for-18 (.388 batting average). On Tuesday, he belted his 21st home run of the season off Philadelphia Phillies starter Zach Eflin. 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 1-for-7 in three games last week before leaving Friday’s contest with a left oblique strain. He was placed on the 10-day disabled list the following day and there’s a chance he could miss the rest of the season. The 34-year-old vet is batting .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 in the seventh inning on Thursday 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 five earned runs in 4 2/3 innings to the New York Mets on Friday in his sole start this past week. His season ERA now sits at 6.09 in 17 starts and he has fanned 88 batters in 88-2/3 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 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 returned to the triple-A Buffalo Bisons lineup on Tuesday after missing 10 days with a hip flexor injury. The left-handed hitting outfielder has at least one hit in each of his four games since his return, going 7-for-19 (.368 batting average). 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 returned to his mother’s hometown on Friday to hold the Blue Jays to two runs in six innings at Rogers Centre to pick up his seventh win of the season. It was the 6-foot-7, 230-pound hurler’s 10th 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 7-5 with a 4.50 ERA with 91 strikeouts in 92 innings in 17 starts with the Pirates this season.
Jesen Therrien, Montreal, Que., Philadelphia Phillies
After a rough outing on Thursday in which he allowed three runs in an inning, Therrien registered two scoreless appearances (totaling two innings) on Friday and Sunday. 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’s 17-game hitting streak ended on Sunday, however, in his last 18 games, the left-handed hitting first baseman has gone 24-for-55 (.436 batting average) with five home runs and 14 RBI and 23 walks. In six games over the past week, he was walked 11 times. For the season, he now owns a .314 batting average and 31 home runs (third in the National League) and he leads the NL with a .446 on-base percentage, 1.046 on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) and 95 walks.