Aumont Classic bound after all

The Mariners will have several players join their respective World Baseball Classic teams — including one large surprise.

I just talked to Phillippe Aumont, the organization’s prize right-handed pitcher, and he told me that he has decided to pitch for Team Canada after all and will join the team next Sunday in Florida.

“(Team Canada) wanted me to go as a starting pitcher and I said ‘I can’t do that,'” he said. “The  Mariners didn’t want me to go as a starter either. But after I got here (Peoria) and started throwing some bullpens, my arm felt really good. I decided to see if I could be on the team as a reliever.”

Aumont contacted his agent, who talked to Mariners and Team Canada officials, and everyone agreed to let the 20-year-old right-hander to pitch in the Classic — in relief.

Team Canada opens the 16-team tournament at Rogers Centre in Toronto — against Team USA.

— Jim Street

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