Eugene Emeralds Baseball

Emeralds Announce 2024 Coaching Staff

Eugene, OR – The Eugene Emeralds have announced their coaching staff for the 2024 season, headed by manager Jeremiah Knackstedt. Joining him will be pitching coach Mario Rodriguez, hitting coach Jared Walker, and fundamentals coach Eliezer Zambrano. The staff also includes trainer Joseph Holstedt as well as strength & conditioning coach Chris Harms. 

Jeremiah Knackstedt is entering his fifth year in the Giants system after five more years of coaching across various independent leagues and collegiate summer teams.  As a player, Knackstedt caught for four seasons at Greenville College (now Greenville University), a DIII school in Greenville, IL. He founded Back-2-Back Baseball & Softball Training in 2012 and ran the facility for five years.  He also coached at 314 Training Academy for a year. He was set to manage the Terre Haute Rex in 2020 before the Giants hired Knackstedt as the Fundamentals Coach for the AZL Giants Orange, until COVID canceled the season.  He was the Fundamentals Coach for ACL Giants Orange in 2021 and the San Jose Giants in 2022.  2023 was Knackstedt’s first year as a Minor League Manager, where he led San Jose to a .515 Winning %.

Mario Rodriguez is no stranger to the Northwest League, having spent three seasons with the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes in 2009, 2010, and 2012. Rodriguez was the AZL Giants Pitching Coach in 2014 and 2016-17, the AZL Giants Black Pitching Coach from 2018-19, the ACL Giants Orange Pitching Coach from 2021-22, and the ACL Giants Black Pitching Coach in 2023.  He filled in as the Emeralds Pitching Coach for one series in 2022 (7/26-7/31).  2024 marks Rodriguez’s 9th season as an MiLB Pitching Coach with the Giants and his 16th total with the organization.

2024 marks Jared Walker’s second year in the coaching ranks after a nine-year playing career that saw him play for two organizations across four levels (as high as AA), three Independent League teams, and two winters in the Australian Baseball League.  Walker started the 2021 season with the Sioux City Explorers before signing an MiLB deal with the Rangers that June.  The second half of 2021 was his last stint in affiliated ball, as Walker played for the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs in 2022 before retiring and becoming the ACL Giants Black Hitting Coach in 2023.

Eliezer Zambrano embarks on his fifth season as a coach in the Giants organization after serving as a Bullpen Catcher in the Giants system with Double-A Richmond in 2018. A native of San Diego, VZ, Zambrano spent his entire 12 season minor league career in the Giants organization as a catcher where he reached Triple-A Sacramento in his final playing season (2017). In his 12 seasons, he batted .227 in 447 games and threw out 30% of potential basestealers (119-of-400).

Joseph Holstedt is making his MiLB Debut in 2024 as the Emeralds new Athletic Trainer.  Before working in sports, Holstedt spent nearly 12 years in the US Army, working his way up to being an Infantry Squad Leader.  Following his service, Holstedt went to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Athletic Training.  He then earned a Master’s Degree in Kinesiology and Sports Management at the University of South Dakota, where he also served as a Graduate Athletic Asst. Trainer.  Upon completion of the degree, Holstedt entered professional baseball, serving as the Athletic Trainer for the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks for the 2020 season.  That offseason, Holstedt worked as an Assistant Athletic Trainer for U. Tennessee-Chattanooga.  He then joined the Gastonia Honey Hunters for the 2021 season and the Lexington Legends in 2022.  Holstedt was the Legends’ (and Counter Clocks’) Head Trainer for two seasons before joining the Giants in 2024.

Chris Harms embarks on his fifth season with the Giants organization and second with the Emeralds in 2024. From 2017-2019, Harms served as a Graduate Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach at the University of Hawaii. From 2016-2017, he was the Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach at his alma mater, Occidental College. He graduated from Occidental in 2014 and also played collegiate baseball there. He also worked at UCLA from 2015-2016 as an Assistant Athletic Performance Coach.  

The Eugene Emeralds are the High-A affiliate of Major League Baseball’s San Francisco Giants. The Eugene Emeralds are dedicated to providing the best in family entertainment and creating a fun, safe environment for everyone to enjoy watching a baseball game. For more information, please visit our website at or call the Emeralds front office at 541-342-5367. • • •