Tyler O’Neill when he played with Team Canada in 2017. (The News files)

Tyler O’Neill when he played with Team Canada in 2017. (The News files)

B.C. slugger a new dad, to play for Team Canada

Tyler O’Neill will wear the Maple Leaf in the World Baseball Classic

Maple Ridge Major Leaguer Tyler O’Neill has announced he will be playing for Team Canada this spring.

The St. Louis Cardinals outfielder has already had a busy 2023. He just became a father, and also came to an agreement with his club that will pay him $4.95 million for the coming season.

The 27-year-old and wife Stephanie had their first child, Audrie, who came into the world a week ago.

“Becoming a dad… just a bunch of crazy feels and fuzzies and warmth going on, it was an awesome experience,” he told Bally Sports, adding that the birth changes his perspective.

His appearance at the World Baseball Classic will be his second time at the event, as he wore the Maple Leaf in 2017. He also won gold with Team Canada at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto. O’Neill said he is looking forward to the tournament.

“It’s a different feeling. Really excited to be a part of it,” he said in a press conference.

There will be pools of teams playing in Taiwan, Japan, Arizona, and Florida. Team Canada will open the tournament on March 12 in Arizona against Great Britain, then will take on Team USA, Colombia, and Mexico. Two teams from that pool of five will advance to the quarter finals in Miami.

O’Neill has spent time hitting with former all-star outfielder Jim Edmonds this off-season. He has had huge success, and finished eighth in National League Most Valuable Player voting in 2021, when he hit .286 with 34 home runs and 80 RBI. He also won gold gloves in 2020 and 2021. But he was battling injuries last season, and slumped to .228 with 14 homers and 58 RBI.

So there is a lot of talk in Missouri sports media about the new dad coming into this season healthy, happy and ready to bounce back.

READ ALSO: B.C. Lions QB Nathan Rourke announces he’s signing with Jacksonville Jaguars

READ ALSO: Canada’s Andreescu, Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime win Aussie Open openers


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