MISSOULA, Mont. -- The defending Pioneer Baseball League champion Missoula Osprey will field a new coaching staff for the 2013 season, it was announced today in conjunction with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Included on the staff are two former players with Major League playing experience, and one with Major League coaching experience.
Robby Hammock, who was the hitting coach for the Rookie-level Arizona League Diamondbacks last summer following a 14-year playing career, including parts of six seasons in the Major Leagues, will be the new manager of the Osprey this coming season. Hammock spent parts of six seasons in the Major Leagues with the D-backs, hitting .254 with 30 doubles, four triples, 12 home runs and 48 RBIs in 182 games for Arizona. Hammock then made his coaching debut with the AZL Diamondbacks last summer, and will be making his managerial debut with the Osprey.
The staff includes pitching coach Doug Bochtler, hitting coach Wilson Valera and strength & conditioning coach Sean Light. The D-backs have yet to announce the athletic trainer for the Osprey.
All five members of the 2012 Osprey coaching staff received promotions. Manager Andy Green was promoted to Double-A Mobile to replace Turner Ward, who was promoted to the Major League coaching staff. Pitching coach Gil Heredia will join former Osprey hitting coach Jason Hardtke in Class A Advanced Visalia -- both were on the Osprey staff in 2010 -- and they will be joined by strength & conditioning coach Matt Tenney. Hitting coach JR House will join the staff at Class A Short-Season Hillsboro, and 2012 Pioneer League Trainer of the Year Masa Abe will serve as the athletic trainer for Class A South Bend.
Hammock was a 23rd round pick of the D-backs in the 1998 First-Year Player Draft, and made his professional debut with the Lethbridge Black Diamonds that same summer. The Black Diamonds would move to Missoula and become the Osprey the following season.
"Robby is a quality person, and I am pleased to have him as our manager for the 2013 season," said Osprey executive vice president, Matt Ellis. "Having had experience with him in the past, while he was playing for Lethbridge, he is a person who will be a great leader for this team both on and off the field."
Before signing with the D-backs, Hammock, a native of Macon, Ga., was drafted two times prior, in 1996 by the Florida Marlins (66th round), and in the 89th round in the 1997 Draft by the then-expansion Tampa Bay Rays.
Doug Bochtler will take over the pitching coach duties for the Osprey, after spending two seasons with Class A Short-Season Yakima. Bochtler spent parts of six seasons with San Diego, Detroit, Kansas City and the Los Angeles Dodgers, posting a 9-18 overall record with a 4.57 ERA as a relief pitcher. Bochtler was a ninth-round pick out of high school by the Montreal Expos in the 1989 Draft.
Wilson Valera transfers from his role as a Major League coach to the hitting coach for the Osprey. Valera spent the past two seasons with the D-backs parent club, and served a number of roles, including effectively communicating with Latin players. He also worked with the infielders, a capacity he also did for three seasons in the Dominican Summer League, in addition to serving as the team's third-base coach.
Valera spent six seasons in the Minors, hitting .225 for his career while playing in the Cleveland, New York Mets and Chicago White Sox organizations. Valera, who resides in Palenque San Cristobal, Dominican Republic, was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Indians in 1981. Valera also spent time as a bullpen catcher for the San Francisco Giants and Cincinnati Reds.
Sean Light will serve as the team's strength & conditioning coach. Light is a strength and conditioning specialist, specializing in training elite level baseball players. Light is a 2010 graduate of Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn., where he was a three-year letter winner as a member of the Bobcat Division I college basketball team. Previously, Light has spent time working with the New York Yankees and the Quinnipiac University strength and conditioning department.
The Osprey influence is evident throughout the D-backs Minor League system. Other managers in the D-backs farm system include former Osprey manager Audo Vicente, who will manage the Hillsboro squad that moved from Yakima, and former Osprey player Luis Urrtera, who takes over as the manager of the Arizona League Diamondbacks. Former Osprey pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre, Jr., will serve as pitching coordinator, while former Osprey manager Tony Perezchica returns as the D-backs' Minor League infield coordinator. Former Osprey pitcher and coach Hatuey "Chewy" Mendoza returns as the Latin liaison, and former Osprey strength & conditioning coach Vaughn Robinson is now the D-backs' Minor League strength coordinator.
In addition, former athletic trainer Joe Metz will start his second season at Triple-A Reno this coming spring, and former strength & conditioning coaches Mike Scholfield (Triple-A Reno) and Andrew Slorp (Double-A Mobile) are also still in the D-backs system.
The 2013 version of the Osprey will open the season on Thu, June 20, against the Helena Brewers. Season tickets are now on sale at the MSO Hub Box Office at 140 N. Higgins, by phone at (406) 543-3300 or at MissoulaOsprey.com online.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.