3/12/2013 4:28 P.M. ET
Aumont back from Classic, competing for job
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Phillippe Aumont rejoined Phillies camp Tuesday with his limbs intact and ready to compete for a job in the bullpen.
The Phillies are thankful for that.
He had been playing with Canada in the World Baseball Classic. It lost to Team USA over the weekend, ending its tournament run, but not before it provided the tournament's most memorable moment when the team was involved in a scary incident with Mexico's team in the ninth inning of a game last week. There were some legitimate haymakers thrown during the fracas, including Phillies outfielder Tyson Gillies tossing Mexican pitcher Alfredo Aceves to the ground.
Asked which NHL players he would have liked to have had at that moment, Aumont said Georges Laraque and Darcy Hordichuk.
"It was pretty intense," he said Tuesday morning at Bright House Field. "It was the first time I've ever been in an actual brawl where people were going to town on [each other]. … I was trying to stay out of trouble. I was more frozen than anything else when I got there. When I got there, everything kind of separated. I looked out, and tried not to get sucker punched or anything."
Aumont described the postgame scene following Canada's victory over Mexico like this: "Just a bunch of failed hockey players pumped up and ready to do another one."
But Aumont also expressed his frustration when he called out Phillies teammate Sebastian Valle, who was catching for Mexico at the time.
"How about Sebastian Valle swinging at people with his catchers mask.. #stupid," Aumont tweeted.
Aumont soon deleted the tweet.
"It was something that at the moment I was frustrated about and, like I said, it was a heat-of-the-moment thing," he said. "I thought about it, and it was not right for me to say that."
He has not spoken to Valle since then, other than maybe saying hello to him in the Phillies clubhouse Tuesday.
"It's not like I'm going to look at him and try to fight him," he said. "The guy is my teammate. On the field it was different. What he did, I thought was a little low, but that's none of my business. He's the one who deals with that."
But Aumont said he enjoyed his Classic experience. He had one poor appearance against Italy, but rebounded to pitch a scoreless innings against Team USA.
"Yeah, it was the craziest thing I've ever been to," he said of his tournament experience. "Mexico, obviously, was really intense, and the U.S. game was the best game I've ever been a part of. From the first pitch until they finished us in the ninth inning, I had butterflies the entire game. It was do-or-die and so much fun. Every run, getting up, cheering, high-fiving and all that stuff. I threw that seventh inning and I came in [to the dugout], and I was still shaking. I was like, 'We got this, we're going boys!' We just hit a bump, and it happens. That's what happens between the lines."
So, it's back to competing for a job in the Phillies' bullpen. He seems to be a frontrunner for one of the three jobs.
"I feel good," he said. "To me, they are still my friends, still my boys. I'm just going to go out and do my thing. Whatever happens with them, good for them. I definitely want to see them do well. If I don't perform well, then they deserve it more than I do. If I do well, obviously I want to be a part of it.
"But I'm not going to compare myself to others, because that's where you get in trouble. I'll do my own thing and cheer for them. There are 10 more guys and just seven more spots, but obviously I'm going to cheer for them. The goal is to win a championship."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.