Five Canadians on Opening Day rosters

March 29, 2018

OTTAWA- John Axford, Russell Martin, James Paxton, Nick Pivetta and Joey Votto make-up the five Canadians on active Major League Baseball Opening Day rosters with the 2018 season set to begin today.

Five Canadians appeared on opening day rosters in 2017 while nine Canucks in total appeared in at least one big league game. A modern-day record 26 Canadians appeared in the big leagues in 2011.

Montréal’s Russell Martin is set for his fourth straight season in a Toronto Blue Jays uniform and will be joined by eight-year big league veteran John Axford (Port Dover, ON) who earned a spot in the Jays bullpen as a minor league invite during spring training. Martin, a four-time MLB All-Star, is entering his 13th big league campaign while Axford is primed for his ninth.

Set to start the Seattle Mariners’ second game of the season, Ladner, BC’s James Paxton will be counted on to replicate his 2017 season that saw the southpaw go 12-5 with a 2.98 ERA over 24 starts. The 29-year-old is hoping for a healthy 2018 season after two Disabled List stints in 2017.

Nick Pivetta represented Canada at the 2017 World Baseball Classic starting against Colombia and just six weeks later, made his MLB debut with the Philadelphia Phillies. The 23-year-old Victoria, BC native is now firmly entrenched in the Phillies’ starting rotation and is looking to build off his 2017 season that saw him go 8-10 and start 26 games.

Considered one of the best hitters in all of baseball, Etobicoke, Ontario native Joey Votto finished second in National League Most Valuable Player voting and was named to his fifth All-Star team in 2017. Votto led the National League in On-Base percentage (OBP) and On-base plus slugging (OPS) in 2017 with .454 and 1.032 marks, respectively, and added 36 home runs and 100 RBI, in a season that many believe was the best of his career. The 2010 NL MVP is entering his 12th big league season, all with the Cincinnati Reds.

Blue Jays outfielder Dalton Pompey (Mississauga, ON) is on the 10-day disabled list to start the season after spraining his wrist during spring training.

Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman (Fountain Valley, CA) and Pittsburgh Pirates starter Jameson Taillon (The Woodlands, TX) have both represented Canada in international competition due to their parents’ Canadian citizenship.

AL East

Toronto Blue Jays - C Russell Martin (Montréal, QC)
Toronto Blue Jays – RHP John Axford (Port Dover, ON)

AL West

Seattle Mariners – LHP James Paxton (Ladner, BC)

NL East

Philadelphia Phillies – RHP Nick Pivetta (Victoria, BC)

NL Central

Cincinnati Reds - 1B Joey Votto (Etobicoke, ON)

2018 MLB Canadians




Mizuno is the official glove and catcher's gear supplier for Baseball Canada’s National Teams. More than 200 professional baseball players depend on Mizuno baseball equipment every day to perform at the game’s highest level. That trust comes from Mizuno’s longstanding commitment to quality, craftsmanship, and performance. For more information on Mizuno’s involvement globally in baseball or any of the company's top quality products, visit: or in Canada


More Partners +

MLB Canadians

Dalton Pompey

Current MLB Team: Toronto Blue Jays
Hometown: Mississauga, ON

Umpire of the Week

Week of July 2, 2018

Isaac (AB)

Shaped by our Game

Baseball Canada is pleased to introduce Shaped by Our Game, a new initiative on that will profile people who have used our sport to achieve success later in life. Baseball is a sport that provides great life lessons and teaches skills that are applicable for future success in life whether on the baseball field or not.

 Dominic Therrien

 Isabelle Higgins

Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD)

What is LTAD?

Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) is a systemic approach being developed and adopted by Baseball Canada to maximize a participant's potential and involvement in our sport. The LTAD framework aims to define optimal training, competition and recovery throughout an athlete's career to enable him / her to reach his / her full potential in baseball and as an athlete.