* Defending National League batting champion Justin Morneau (New Westminster, BC) headlines a list of nine Canadians on opening-day rosters. ….
By Adam Morissette
OTTAWA – The 2015 Major League Baseball season officially opened with nine Canadians on opening day rosters.
In 2014, 10 Canadians appeared on Opening Day rosters and 16 in total played at least one MLB game during the regular season.
A modern-day record 26 Canadians appeared in the big leagues in 2011.
Canada’s only Major League Baseball franchise, the Blue Jays, have three Canadians on their roster, while the Colorado Rockies have two. The Brewers, Oakland Athletics, Seattle Mariners and Cincinnati Reds each have one Canadian on their roster.
The Jays added two Canadians to fold during the off-season, inking free agent catcher Russell Martin (Montréal, Que.) to a five-year contract, while swinging a deal with the Seattle Mariners to acquire outfielder Michael Saunders. Saunders suffered a torn meniscus early in spring training that required surgery, but is hopeful for a return to the lineup this month.
Although two Canadians joined the Blue Jays in the offseason, one Canadian is no longer with the club as Brett Lawrie (Langley, BC) was dealt to the Oakland Athletics in November.
In addition to Lawrie, Martin and Saunders, relief pitcher John Axford (Port Dover, Ont.) will join a new club as he signed a free agent deal with the Colorado Rockies joining fellow-Canadian Justin Morneau (New Westminster, BC), the defending National League batting champion, in the Mile-High City.
New to the list of Canadians on opening day rosters this season is 2010 Junior National Team player Dalton Pompey (Mississauga, Ont.) who won the starting centerfield job with the Toronto Blue Jays in spring training. Pompey made his MLB debut last season as a September call-up and played in 17 games.
2015 MLB Canadians
Toronto Blue Jays – C Russell Martin (Montréal, Que.)
Toronto Blue Jays – OF Dalton Pompey (Mississauga, Ont.)
*Toronto Blue Jays – OF Michael Saunders (Victoria, BC)
Oakland Athletics – 3B Brett Lawrie (Langley, BC)
Seattle Mariners – LHP James Paxton (Ladner, BC)
Cincinnati Reds – 1B Joey Votto (Etobicoke, Ont.)
*Milwaukee Brewers – RHP Jim Henderson (Calgary, Alta.)
Colorado Rockies – 1B Justin Morneau (New Westminster, BC)
Colorado Rockies – RHP John Axford (Port Dover, Ont.)