The Arkansas Travelers in conjunction with their parent club the Seattle Mariners are proud to announce the Travs coaching staff for this season led by Manager Mike Freeman. In his first season of coaching following a lengthy playing career, Freeman is joined by Shawn O’Malley (Hitting Coach), Michael Peoples (Pitching
The Arkansas Travelers in conjunction with their parent club the Seattle Mariners are proud to announce the Travs coaching staff for this season led by Manager Mike Freeman. In his first season of coaching following a lengthy playing career, Freeman is joined by Shawn O’Malley (Hitting Coach), Michael Peoples (Pitching Coach), Jose Umbria (Asst. Hitting/Catching Coach), Brennan Mickelson (Strength and Conditioning) as well as Athletic Trainers Amanda Lee and Andy Turner. O’Malley returns to the staff after holding the same role last season while Lee will be in her third year as the Travs’ head athletic trainer.
Mike Freeman, 35, a former Major League player will be in his first coaching role, taking over as the Arkansas skipper. He concluded his playing career in 2021 splitting that season between the Cincinnati Reds and their Triple-A club in Louisville. Over a six year big league career from 2016-21, Freeman appeared in 193 games with six different teams. He played for the Diamondbacks (2016), Mariners (2016-17), Dodgers (2017), Cubs (2017-18), Cleveland (2019-20) and the Reds (2021). His most extensive action was in 2019 with the then-Indians when he appeared in 75 games, hitting .277 with four homers and 24 RBIs. Over his career, he played every defensive position except catcher. A native of Orlando, Florida, Freeman turned pro in 2010 after being selected by Arizona in the 11th round out of Clemson.
“I am excited to be back in the Mariners organization as the manager of the Arkansas Travelers," Freeman said. "We have a great staff, and I am looking forward to assisting them in the development of our players."
Shawn O’Malley returns to Arkansas for his second season as the Travelers Hitting Coach. Last year, the Travs offense scored the third most runs in franchise history and drew the most walks ever by a Travs club. He also mentored Cade Marlowe, Joe Rizzo and Jake Scheiner who became the first trio of Travs to each hit 20+ homers in the same campaign. A former Major Leaguer and former Traveler, O’Malley is in his fourth season of coaching, all with the Mariners. He spent 2021 as the hitting coach at High-A Everett and was supposed to be the High-A hitting coach in 2020 prior to the minor league season cancellation. O’Malley had a 14 year playing career including parts of three seasons in the big leagues. He totaled 124 ML games with the Angels (2014) and Mariners (2015-16) playing six different defensive positions with a .231 batting average and .315 on-base percentage. In two different stints with the Travs he played in 19 total games, 11 in 2014 and eight in 2017. He began his pro career as a fifth round pick of the Tampa Bay Rays out of high school in 2006.
Michael Peoples takes over as the Pitching Coach for Arkansas. Peoples just retired from a playing career that saw him pitch the past three seasons in Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan for the Yokohama DeNA Baystars. Prior to that he was in the Cleveland minor league system from 2012-2019 including being named the organization's Pitcher of the Year in 2016. He reached as high as the Triple-A level. A 14th round draft pick by Cleveland in 2012 out of Western Oklahoma State, Peoples is a native of Weatherford, Texas.
Jose Umbria joins the Travelers coaching staff as the assistant hitting coach and catching coach. Umbria will be in his 13th season as a coach in the Mariners system, most recently spending two seasons as the bench coach for High-A Everett. In 2019 he was the hitting coach for the High-A affiliate and in 2018 held the same role for the Low-A affiliate. He was honored by the Mariners as the Dave Henderson Minor League Staff Member of the Year in 2018. Since joining Seattle in 2010, he has coached at six different minor league affiliates. Umbria signed with Toronto as an international free agent in 1995 and played as a catcher in Blue Jays system from 1996-2005 reaching as high as Triple-A. His playing career concluded with two season in independent ball. He is a native of Barquisimeto, Venezuela.
Brennan Mickelson is the new strength and conditioning coach for Arkansas. This will be his fifth year in the Mariners organization. He spent the past two years with High-A Everett. Mickelson owns degrees from Washington State University and the University of Montana.
Amanda Lee returns for her third season as head athletic trainer. 2023 is her fifh season in the Mariners organization. Lee was the athletic trainer for the Mariners short-season club in 2019 and worked at the Dodgers Arizona training facility in 2018. She also worked as an athletic training intern with the Tulsa Drillers in 2017 upon finishing college. A native of the Tulsa area, Lee hails from Glenpool, Oklahoma. She will be assisted by Andy Turner who joins the Mariners organization this year. Turner served as an athletic training associate in the Philadelphia Phillies organization last summer while completing his Master’s degree.
Founded in 1901, the Arkansas Travelers are the Double-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners and call Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock home. For all the latest information with the club and events at the ballpark, log on to travs.com or follow the Travelers on Facebook (Arkansas Travelers), Instagram (@artravs) and Twitter (@artravs). The 2023 Travs season begins on Thursday April 6 with the home opener is set for Tuesday April 11. Dickey-Stephens Park is now a cashless facility and the Travelers have a clear bag policy for all events.