Canadian baseball notes: Pivetta, Pompey, Soroka, Votto

April 5, 2023

By Kevin Glew

Cooperstowners in Canada

Right-handers Nick Pivetta (Victoria, B.C.) and Mike Soroka (Calgary, Alta.) had positive outings on Tuesday, while Mississauga, Ont., native Dalton Pompey’s name came up in some Toronto Blue Jays’ trivia.

Joey Votto (Etobicoke, Ont.), meanwhile, was the subject of a wonderful CBC feature by the Ian Hanomansing.

So it’s been a great couple of days for Canadian baseball followers like me.

Here’s a summary:

Pivetta makes his first start of the season for the Red Sox

Pivetta started on Tuesday and allowed just one earned run on three hits, while striking out six, in five innings for the Red Sox in their 4-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates at Fenway Park. The Victoria Eagles and Junior National Team alum threw 87 pitches, but was saddled with a tough-luck loss.

Early in the spring, the 6-foot-5 right-hander tested positive for COVID-19 which set back his training schedule and forced him to withdraw from pitching for Canada in the World Baseball Classic.

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. He also set career bests in wins (10) and innings pitched (179 2/3) and registered 175 strikeouts.

In all, Pivetta has pitched parts of six big league seasons for the Philadelphia Phillies and Red Sox.

Soroka solid in triple-A start

Right-hander Mike Soroka (Calgary, Alta.) permitted just one run on four hits in 3 2/3 innings in his first start of the season for the triple-A Gwinnett Stripers against the Norfolk Tides on Tuesday. The Stripers won the game 6-1.

Soroka made his first Grapefruit League start of the season for the Atlanta Braves on March 22 against the Detroit Tigers. He allowed one earned run on three hits and a walk in 1 1/3 innings. He threw just 36 pitches, but it was the first time he has toed the rubber in a major league game since tearing his Achilles tendon on August 3, 2020.

The 25-year-old righty is aiming to rejoin the Braves’ starting rotation in 2023. He had been sidelined this spring with tightness in his left hamstring.

After initially tearing his Achilles in 2020, Soroka then re-tore it the following June. After two years of recovery and rehabilitation, Soroka returned to game action in August last year and posted a 5.40 ERA in six late-season starts between class-A and triple-A before being shut down with elbow inflammation. A graduate of the Junior National Team, Soroka was a first-round pick (28th overall) of the Braves in 2015. In 2019, he went 13-4 with a 2.68 ERA in 29 starts and finished second in the National League Rookie of the Year voting.

Varsho duplicates Pompey’s feat

On Tuesday night, Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Daulton Varsho had a home run, a bunt single and threw a runner out at home plate in the Blue Jays’ 4-1 win over the Kansas City Royals. This inspired Canadian broadcasting legend Mark Hebscher to ask on Twitter who was the last Blue Jays player to accomplish these three things in the same game. Sportsnet statistician Scott Carson responded that the only Blue Jays player to do this in the past 30 years was Dalton Pompey (Mississauga, Ont.).

Pompey had a home run, a bunt single and an outfield assist in the Blue Jays’ 12-7 win over the Tampa Bay Rays at Rogers Centre on April 15, 2015.

Must-watch Votto interview with CBC’s Ian Hanomansing

Please take 14 minutes to watch legendary CBC journalist Ian Hanomansing interview Joey Votto (Etobicoke, Ont.) in this feature that ran this week. I thought I knew everything there was to know about Votto, but I learned much more about Votto as a person. In the interview, Votto talks about his mental health issues early in his career, his relationship with his late father, why he joined a Toronto chess club in the off-season and about why it’s difficult for him to have personal relationships while he is still pursuing excellence as a major league player.

7 thoughts on “Canadian baseball notes: Pivetta, Pompey, Soroka, Votto

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  1. Thank you for the link to Ian Hanomansing’s interview with Joey Votto. It really showed the type of deep thinker that Joey is, not like so many others whose answers are so casual and uninteresting.

  2. Great to see those guys pitching well. What a great interview with Joey. They r always great. Can’t wait to see Mike and Joey back in the show soon.

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