SEATTLE — Former Mariners coach Chris Woodward will serve as New Zealand’s manager next month at a World Baseball Classic four-nation qualifying tournament in Sydney, Australia.
South Africa, Philippines and Australia are also participating in the modified double-elimination tournament that runs from Feb. 11-14. The winning nation qualifies to participate in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
Woodward, 39, concluded a 12-year playing career in 2012 and spent the last two seasons on the Mariners’ big-league staff as the first-base and infield coach. He served in 2013 as the organization’s minor-league infield coordinator.
The Mariners offered Woodward the chance to return this season under new manager Scott Servais, but he declined when offered the opportunity to be the Los Angeles Dodgers’ third-base coach.
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Woodward served as New Zealand’s third-base coach at a 2013 WBC qualifying tournament. New Zealand reached the qualifier’s title game before losing to Chinese Taipei.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners