February 23, 2023
By Kevin Glew
Cooperstowners in Canada
Right-hander Nick Pivetta has withdrawn from the World Baseball Classic.
The Victoria, B.C. native and Boston Red Sox right-hander, who tied for the American League lead in starts last season, was to have been one of Canada’s key pitchers in the tournament.
Jon Heyman, from the New York Post and MLB Network, reported yesterday that Pivetta experienced an “illness” early in Red Sox camp that set the 30-year-old right-hander’s schedule back.
Pivetta will replaced on the Canadian roster by left-hander Ben Onyshko. Selected in the 24th round of the 2018 MLB draft by the Seattle Mariners, the Winnipeg, Man., native posted a 4.36 ERA and struck out 44 batters in 53 2/3 innings in 43 relief appearances for the double-A Arkansas Travelers in 2022.
That represented Onyshko’s fourth season in the Mariners’ organization. The 6-foot-1 southpaw was originally chosen by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 16th round of the 2014 MLB draft but he declined to sign and instead headed to Stetson University where he toed the rubber for four seasons, registering 165 strikeouts in 139 2/3 innings. As a collegian, Onyshko was twice named to the ASUN Academic Honor Roll.
Prior to his college career, Onyshko honed his skills with the Junior National Team and at the Vauxhall Academy. He also pitched for Team Manitoba in the 2013 Canada Games, going 2-0 with a 1.53 ERA in 13 2/3 innings. During that tournament, he tossed a no-hitter against Nova Scotia.
Onyshko last pitched for Canada in 2021 at the WBSC Baseball Americas Olympic Qualifier.
Pivetta, who turned 30 on Valentine’s Day, was a workhorse for the Red Sox in 2022, starting 33 games, which was tied for the most in the American League. The 6-foot-5 right-hander also set career bests in wins (10) and innings pitched (179 2/3) and registered 175 strikeouts. During the months of May and June, he went a combined 8-2 with a 2.18 ERA in 12 starts and fanned 75 batters in 78 1/3 innings.
In all, Pivetta has pitched parts of six big league seasons for the Philadelphia Phillies and Red Sox. He has made 158 major league appearances (136 starts) and has fanned 784 batters in 741 innings.
Like Onyshko, Pivetta is a Junior National Team graduate. He also pitched for Canada in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.