Friday, February 11, 2011

SPORTS>>Travelers welcome skipper Mosiello

Leader sports editor

For the first time since Dickey-Stephens Park opened in North Little Rock, the Arkansas Travelers will have a new guy calling the shots from the top steps of the dugout.

On Tuesday the Travelers, Class AA affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels, introduced Bill Mosiello as their first new field manager since Dickey-Stephens debuted in 2007. Mosiello replaces four-year man Bobby Magallanes, who led the Travs to the 2008 Texas League championship and is now managing Class AA Birmingham, the Chicago White Sox’s Southern League affiliate.

Mosiello, 46, is in his third year with the Angels after leading Class A Cedar Rapids to the Midwest League playoffs the past two seasons.

“I’m excited for a fresh start at this level,” Mosiello said. “I’m excited because the last couple years I’ve had some pretty good clubs and we all know that was a low A-ball club. But a lot of those players I expect to be with me.”

Mosiello (357-274 in the minor leagues) managed the 2010 Kernels to their highest victory total in 18 years as they finished with an 82-56 record.

“No matter what players break spring training with me, I’ve got a high standard of playing winning baseball,” Mosiello said. “We all understand this game is about developing players but to me it’s more about developing winning players. There’s a big difference in my mind.”

Mosiello’s recent experience is in the minor leagues, but he is rooted in college baseball. He played catcher at Fresno State and began his career coaching at Cerritos Junior College in California and also assisted at Cal State-Fullerton, which lost to Pepperdine in the finals of the 1992 College World Series.

Mosiello was also pitching coach in the SEC at Tennessee and at Ole Miss and was associate head coach at Oklahoma from 1996-2000. He was a volunteer assistant at Arizona State in 2001.

“I’ve always been around great players so I’ve been very fortunate,” Mosiello said. “The one difference is you go to a house and recruit a college kid whereas professionally you get what you got.”

Mosiello began his minor league career with Class AA Trenton, the New York Yankees’ Eastern League affiliate, where Mosiello was hitting coach in 2003. He became a manager at the Yankees’ Midwest League affiliate in Battle Creek, Mich., during a staff shakeup in 2004.

Mosiello managed the Yankees’ Class A Charleston Riverdogs in 2005 and then left the Yankees’ system to become hitting coach at the University of Southern California in 2006. He was an assistant at Auburn in 2008 and 2009 before the Angels hired him.

Mosiello said he would manage within the Angels’ philosophy, which includes fastball command on the mound and the “small ball” offensive approach of aggressive base running, the bunt and hit and run.

“We’re going to do everything they’ve always done,” Mosiello said. “Just hopefully we’re going to execute at a higher level. I don’t have the patience to lose a lot of games to be honest with you.”

Spring training in Arizona will play a large role in setting the Travelers’ roster.

Mosiello said he would lobby hard to get the players he thinks are ready for Class AA, including top Angels prospect Mike Trout, an outfielder who played for Mosiello and who batted .306 at Class A Rancho Cucamonga, in the California League, and .362 at Cedar Rapids last year.