The Rochester Honkers Baseball Club announced the hiring of Zach Etheredge (pictured), Volunteer Assistant from the University of California at Santa Barbara as their new field manager for the 2012 season. Etheredge, a former farmhand with the Chicago White Sox, becomes the Honkers 11th Field Manager since their inaugural season of 1994. He brings with him JR Voyles, who spent time with the NY Mets organization.
“I’m excited to be a part of a first class organization,” said Etheredge. “. The NWL is the best developmental league in the country for amateur baseball players.”
Etheredge is no stranger to the Northwoods League or summer collegiate baseball. He played two summers for the Wisconsin Woodchucks of the NWL (2004, 2005), for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox of the Cape Cod League in 2006, and was an assistant coach for the Cotuit Kettlers in the Cape Cod League in 2011.
“I know from my playing days in the NWL that Rochester is a great place to play and manage,” added Etheredge. “Summer baseball is the best baseball on the planet. It’s pure baseball!”
Etheredge was a catcher collegiately at University of Texas San Antonio (UTSA) from 2003-2008. He was UTSA’s Defensive Player of the Year, Southland Conference All Team Selection and UTSA Team Captain in 2007 and 2008. He left UTSA ranked among the top 10 on the school’s career charts in at-bats (third), doubles (fifth), games started (sixth), RBI (sixth) and home runs (ninth). Etheredge then signed a free agent contract with the Chicago White Sox in 2008 but was eventually released due to a past shoulder injury which worried the club.
Etheredge is bringing with him this summer, UTSA teammate, JR Voyles, who spent 3 years with the New York Mets organization as an infielder.
“When I accepted the head job at Rochester, there was no doubt in my mind who my first phone call would be to,” said Etheredge. “JR, in my opinion, is the best infield guy there is, and he knows what it takes to win in the NWL after winning a ring with Thunder Bay.”
JR will handle the infielders and hitters this summer. JR too spent time in the NWL, playing for the Thunder Bay Border Cats in 2004 and 2005, before entering the pro ranks in 2006 as a 34th draft pick of NY Mets. JR won a NWL Championship with Thunder Bay in 2005. JR retired in 2009 and starting his coaching career. He started off at St. Thomas HS in Houston, TX winning a state championship in 2009 under the tutelage of Head Coach and former Major League All-Star Craig Biggio. In 2010 he joined the staff at C.E. King High School in Houston, TX where he remains today.
“When Zach called and asked if I would be his assistant I jumped at the opportunity,” said JR. “Over my career, I have had the privilege to learn from some of the games’ greatest and can’t wait to pass it on. In my mind, the NWL is one of the best college summer leagues as it’s the closest comparison to minor league baseball.”
Etheredge is excited to team up again with JR again.
“JR has had the opportunity to be around some outstanding players and coaches through his career in college, pro ball, and in coaching,” said Etheredge. “We understand each other, we understand the culture we want to create, and we have both played in the league, I know it’s a winning combination.”
The Rochester Honkers are expected to announce their first player signees for the 2012 season soon, as Etheredge and JR have been working on the roster daily since their hiring.