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Aumont struggling early in spring games

Phillippe Aumont's last-ditch spring to make the Phillies' bullpen is not off to a good start.

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Phillippe Aumont's last-ditch spring push to make the Phillies' bullpen is not off to a good start.

The 6-foot-7 righthander allowed solo home runs on consecutive pitches in the fifth inning of the team's 6-3 Grapefruit League loss to the Astros on Thursday. That came on the heels of him surrendering a run in his inning of work on Sunday against the University of Tampa.

Aumont, 26, is out of minor league options. If he does not earn a spot on the Phillies' opening day roster, he will find himself on waivers and in turn likely with another organization. He's the only player of the three the Phillies acquired from Seattle for Cliff Lee in December 2009 even still with the organization.

"This is a big spring training for him as far as the Phillies go and him (being) with the Phillies," manager Ryne Sandberg said after Thursday's game. He's had "multiple chances and this is a clean slate opportunity for him in spring training coming in with opportunities and with some spots available."

Aumont's start to Thursday's outing was encouraging: he struck out former Phillies prospect Jonathan Villar on three pitches for a quick first out. But then he fell behind, 2-0, to Robbie Grossman, who homered to right field on the third pitch, and Marwin Gonzalez followed suit on the first pitch he saw.

"It should be a fresh start for him after the offseason," Sandberg said. "The biggest thing for him is to work ahead, and really, he has a good breaking ball when he can get to those counts. But sometimes he gets hit before he gets to those counts."

One area in which the Phillies have plenty of options is in the bullpen. There are likely three spots up for grabs. Aumont will need to start throwing up zeros to have a chance at one of them.