NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Travelers) - The Seattle Mariners have announced this season’s Arkansas Travelers manager and coaches. All four coaches are familiar with the Texas League including three returners from last season’s Travelers. Veteran skipper Daren Brown is back to lead Arkansas with hitting coach Roy Howell and pitching coach Ethan Katz returning to Dickey-Stephens Park as well. Joining the staff as the Assistant Hitting coach and Mental Skills coach is Jimmy Van Ostrand. Announcement of the Travs’ athletic trainer and performance coach will occur at a later date.
Manager Daren Brown returns for his second season at the helm of the Arkansas Travelers. 2018 will be Brown’s 19th season as a manager, 16 of which have come as part of the Mariners. Prior to last season with the Travs, Brown led Seattle’s Double-A club in Jackson, TN to the 2016 Southern League Championship and was named the league’s Manager of the Year. He also spent seven seasons (2007-13) leading the Mariners’ Triple-A, Tacoma club and is that franchise’s all-time wins leader with 433. He left Tacoma on August 9, 2010 to serve as the interim manager with Seattle for the remainder of that season (posting a 19-31 record) and also served as the Mariners 3rd base coach from May 2, 2013 until the end of that season. This will be Brown’s third season in the Texas League, having also managed San Antonio in 2006. Before joining the Mariners as a minor league manager in 2001, he began his career managing an independent team in Amarillo, Texas for three seasons where he still resides with his wife and daughter. Brown pitched in the Blue Jays organization from 1989-93 and with Amarillo from 1994-99. He has a career managerial record of 1,156-1,044 (.525) with 953 of those victories coming with a Mariners affiliate.
Hitting Coach Roy Howell enters his second season with the Travs and fourth straight season as the Mariners’ Double-A hitting instructor. Last summer, Howell helped outfielder Ian Miller to within percentage points of the TL batting title on the way to being named the Mariners Minor League Hitter of the Year. This marks Howell’s seventh season in Seattle’s organization including serving as Tacoma’s manager in 2014. His coaching career has also seen him serve as a manager in the independent Atlantic League (2011), California Collegiate League (2007-10) and for six seasons in the Padres organization at both the Rookie (Eugene, 2003-05) and Triple-A (Portland, 2000-02) levels. As a player, Howell spent 11 seasons in the Major Leagues after being selected in the 1st round by the Texas Rangers out of high school in 1972. In his career spanning from 1974-84, he played for the Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays and Milwaukee B rewers being named an AL All-Star in 1978 and playing the in the 1982 World Series. He lives in Shell Beach, California with his wife.
Pitching Coach Ethan Katz returns for his second season with Arkansas and third with a Mariners’ affiliate. Last season he saw three of his pitchers (Andrew Moore, Max Povse, Thyago Vieira) make their MLB debuts. In 2016, he served as the pitching coach at Class-A Bakersfield. For two seasons prior to that, he was a pitching coach in the Angels organization. He broke into coaching at the high school level with two seasons at Harvard-Westlake (CA) High School where he tutored future first-round selections Max Fried, Lucas Giolito and Jack Flaherty who all reached the Majors in the past two seasons. Katz pitched in the Rockies’ minor league system from 2005-08. He resides in Southern California with his wife and son.
Jimmy Van Ostrand joins the Travs coaching staff where he will fill a dual role of Assistant Hitting Coach and Mental Skills Coach. Joining the Mariners organization last season he served as a roaming Peak Performance coach for the minor league system. Before joining the Mariners, he spent one year as the Director of Player Development at the University of Arizona and two years as a volunteer assistant coach at Boston College. No stranger to the Texas League, Van Ostrand played for the Corpus Christi Hooks from 2008-11 during an eight year minor league career. A native of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, he played on the Canadian National Team from 2007-13 including appearances in three Baseball World Cups, the 2008 Summer Olympics, the 2011 Pan American Games (a Canadian gold medal) and the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
The Arkansas Travelers open the 2018 Texas League season at home on April 5 with a 7:10 first pitch against the San Antonio Missions at Dickey-Stephens Park.