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About Us

About D-backs Baseball Academy

The D-backs Baseball Academy, presented by Phoenix Children's Hospital with participating sponsor United Healthcare, is the official year-round baseball and fast-pitch softball instruction division of the Arizona Diamondbacks. A variety of camps and clinics are offered throughout the calendar year, hosted at facilities such as Chase Field and Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, as well as local parks throughout the Greater Phoenix area.

The D-backs Baseball Academy, now in its 15th season, has taught thousands of kids to "Learn to Play the D-backs' Way!"

To ensure quality instruction, enrollment is limited to a 1:10 ratio of instructor-to-student. In fact, you will often see smaller group sizes to provide the best possible learning environment.

Each camp day and session is highly choreographed to maximize participation and activity time. Our instructors are handpicked by the organization from a group of former professional players, as well as the best local collegiate and high school coaches. Fast-pitch softball camps are instructed by collegiate fast-pitch standouts.

  1. Leadership Team
  2. Advisory Board
  3. Academy Instructors
Leadership Team
Jeff Rodin
Jeff Rodin

Jeff Rodin enters his 15th season with the Arizona Diamondbacks as Director of Baseball Outreach & Development. He founded the D-backs' Baseball Academy in 2000 and has continued to mentor and coach youth at every level, from basics to elite. A native of Chicago, Ill., Rodin attended the University of Illinois - Chicago (UIC) on a baseball scholarship and earned bachelor's degrees in kinesiology and secondary education. He has served as an assistant baseball coach with UIC (1992-95), Harper Junior College (1996) and Maine West High School (1997). While working as an assistant baseball coach, Rodin also served as the Academy Director and Lead Instructor for Batting Zone, Inc. (1993-97) in Buffalo Grove, Ill. Simultaneously, Rodin worked as a Team Leader for the Chicago White Sox Training Centers (1994-97), where he ran youth baseball camps for the White Sox. He moved to Phoenix in 1998 and taught in both the Scottsdale and Peoria school districts before joining the D-backs staff in 1999. He was quickly given the task to evaluate the D-backs' community initiatives and began to create a youth baseball and softball program that allows Phoenix area youth to learn the same tools and techniques as D-backs players. He and his wife Lisa have a daughter, Katie, and son, Keegan, who are both actively involved with D-backs youth baseball and softball programs. Rodin enjoys sharing his passion for baseball and continues to help youth refine their skills to become the next D-backs' star!

Jeff Swanson
Jeff Swanson

Jeff Swanson enters his 9th season with the D-backs, currently in the role of Manger, Baseball Outreach and Alumni Relations. He is tasked with a wide range of responsibilities, of which include: Fantasy Camp, youth camp budgeting and financial reporting, department liaison to MLBAM as well as Alumni Relations, involving official team reunions, player number retirements and former player/staff appearance requests. Swanson, a native Phoenician, graduated from Phoenix Christian high school and attended Grand Canyon University where he played baseball four years. He was the 2004 recipient of the prestigious Dr. Roland L. Beck award, provided annually to one male and one female student athlete that display demonstrated excellence in academics, athletics, leadership and Christian character. Swanson returned to Canyon to complete his MBA with an emphasis in Finance in 2006. He and his wife Melissa have two sons, Kayden and Noah, and reside in North Phoenix.


Advisory Board
Roland Hemond
Roland Hemond

One of the most respected and experienced executives in baseball, Roland Hemond, was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2011. Hemond, father of five and grandfather to three, serves as a Special Assistant to the President and CEO, assisting Derrick Hall in strengthening the D-backs' relationships in the Phoenix community and throughout Major League Baseball. Hemond, who has 60 years of professional baseball experience, brings a wealth of baseball knowledge to the D-backs that he loves to share with employees, fans and young players alike. He is a nationally recognized ambassador of the game and his contributions to the industry are unmatched.

Luis Gonzalez
Luis Gonzalez

A MLB veteran of 17 seasons and father of three, Luis Gonzalez in an invaluable member of our Academy Advisory Board. In his current role as Special Assistant to the President and CEO, Gonzo continues to influence the community through his Going Gonzo for Kids program and many appearances/speaking engagements. He also runs a local youth baseball club team with his brother and is an annual D-backs Fantasy Camp participant. Luis brings his knowledge of hitting and outfield play to our programs. The passion he maintains for the D-backs, education, community and baseball allows our Academy to be a valuable resource for anyone involved in youth baseball.


Mike Fetters
Mike Fetters

A 16-year veteran of the Major Leagues, Mike Fetters serves an important role both on and off the field for the D-backs. The father of four not only serves as a part-time color analyst on the D-backs radio broadcasts, but Fetters also works with the D-backs' pitchers during spring training on pick-off moves and holding runners. The versatile former closer also contributes off the field as a Professional/Major League Scout, breaking down the team's upcoming opponents. The Hawaiian native brings a unique mix of experience and analysis to the Academy that is hard to replicate.

Glen Sherlock
Glenn Sherlock

Glenn Sherlock has been a member of the D-backs family since its inception and is the longest tenured member of the Major League coaching staff. In his 29th season of professional baseball and as the D-backs Bullpen and Catching coach, he provides valuable insight into our Academy programs. He has taught the art of catching to numerous players during his career, most notably Jorge Posada, Brad Ausmus, Jim Leyritz and current D-backs' catcher, Miguel Montero. A frequent participant in our youth and Fantasy Camps, Sherls, is always a favorite.


Micah Franklin
Micah Franklin

San Francisco native Micah Franklin is in his 19th season in professional baseball. He has experience as a baseball player, scout and coach. His 15-year professional baseball playing career included time with the Cardinals, two seasons in Japan and two seasons in Korea. He spent two winters in Mexico, two in the Dominican Republic and one in Venezuela combined with four professional seasons playing in Asia. A husband and father of three girls, this is his sixth season as a member of the Diamondbacks organization both as a player and scout. He is currently an amateur Elite Scout and Team Managing Director for the D-backs. He is in charge of developing future D-backs players by teaching them the game of baseball and helping them understand the game at the professional level. Micah uses his international playing experiences to evaluate and coach future D-backs. He loves the game and it shows everyday he goes to work.

 

Academy Instructors
Sean Payton Sean Payton
  • 13th season with Academy
  • Coach at Camelback High School
  • Founded Opportunity Through Baseball Arizona

Rick Bundy Rick Bundy
  • 13th season with Academy
  • Currently a private instructor
  • Played at Emporia State University

John Nazario D-backs Baseball Academy
  • 13th season with Academy
  • Currently a private instructor
  • Played at Phoenix Children's Hospital

Jim Caruthers Jim Caruthers
  • 10th season with Academy
  • Coach at Sunrise Mountain High School
  • Pitched in the Angels organization

Jim Curry D-backs Baseball Academy
  • 10th season with Academy
  • Currently a private instructor
  • Played infield in the Reds organization

JD Ramirez JD Ramirez
  • 10th season with Academy
  • Coach at South Mountain High School
  • Played infield in the Angels organization

Damien Tippett D-backs Baseball Academy
  • 10th season with Academy
  • Coach at Perry High School
  • Played at Southwestern Oregon CC

Matt Michael D-backs Baseball Academy
  • Eighth season with Academy
  • Currently a private instructor
  • Pitched in the Cardinals organization

Kelly Johnson D-backs Baseball Academy
  • Seventh season with Academy
  • Coach at Cienega High School
  • Pitched in the Cardinals organization

Mark Ernster Mark Ernster
  • Sixth season with Academy
  • Coach at Liberty High School
  • Played infield at ASU and in the Brewers organization

Charlie Williamson D-backs Baseball Academy
  • Sixth season with Academy
  • Currently a private instructor
  • Pitched in the D-backs organization

Brett Caradonna D-backs Baseball Academy
  • Third season with Academy
  • Currently a private instructor
  • Played outfield in the White Sox organization

Jacob Eckley Jacob Eckley
  • Third season with Academy
  • Currently a private instructor
  • Pitched in the Royals organization

Bryan Opdyke Bryan Opdyke
  • Second season with Academy
  • Coach Arcadia High School
  • Played in the Brewers and Rockies organizations