Aviators announce hitting, pitching coaches

Online Staff Report

LOVES PARK, Illinois — The Rockford Aviators have announced the addition of Jeff Brooks and former Major League pitcher John Foster to the coaching staff for the 2015 season. Brooks will serve as the Aviators’ hitting coach and Foster will serve as the team’s pitching coach.

Brooks brings more than 10 years of professional playing and coaching experience to the Aviators. A former third-round draft pick by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 1997, Brooks spent 10 years as a player with the Diamondbacks, San Diego Padres and several independent organizations.

We are so pleased to bring aboard Jeff Brooks as our new hitting coach,” said Aviators Manager James Frisbie. “Jeff has a great background as both a player in the minor leagues as well as a coach and manager in professional baseball.”

After serving as the hitting coach for the Maui Warriors of the Pacific Association Baseball League in 2012, Brooks was promoted to the helm in 2013 and led the Warriors to the league championship. This past season, Brooks served as the hitting coach for the Amarillo Sox of the American Association.

In addition to his duties as hitting coach, Brooks will also coach the infielders and be responsible for the team’s defense.

Brooks will be replacing former Hitting Coach Pat O’Sullivan, who accepted the same position with the Southern Illinois Miners.

Foster spent three years in Major League baseball as a pitcher with the Atlanta Braves and Milwaukee Brewers organizations and brings his knowledge and experience to the Aviators to coach the pitchers for the 2015 season.

John comes highly recommended to us by legendary coach Ed Cheff from Lewis and Clark State College and by Roy Clark, who is a special assistant to Atlanta Braves General Manager John Hart,” said Frisbie.

In 1999, the Atlanta Braves selected Foster in the 25th round and he made his Major League debut in 2002 playing with Hall of Famers Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and John Smoltz. Smoltz even helped seal Foster’s first career victory by earning the save in Foster’s Major League debut.

After a one-year stint with the Milwaukee Brewers, Foster returned to the Braves in 2005. In 2006, Foster signed a minor-league contract with the Kansas City Royals and retired from playing in 2009. He finished his career with a 7-2 record in Major League Baseball. In eight minor league seasons, Foster posted a 26-16 record with a 3.21 ERA in 216 appearances.

Since his playing career ended in 2009, Foster has been coaching collegiate-level baseball. In 2010 and 2011, Foster was the head coach at Lehman College, a NCAA Division-III institution. During the 2012 and 2013 seasons, Foster served as the player development coach at Monroe College in New York. Most recently, Foster was the manager of the East Texas Pumpjacks, a collegiate, wood bat team in the Texas Collegiate League.

Foster will replace Dan Grybash as the pitching coach. Grybash stepped down from the position following the 2014 season to pursue opportunities outside of baseball.

I can’t thank Pat and Dan enough for the countless hours they spent with our players,” said Frisbie. “Both of them decided to move on and further their careers in different areas, and I wish them nothing but the best and realize that they will always be a part of the Aviators family. We are excited about the excellent coaches we have coming in, and we will continue to be successful and competitive in the Frontier League.”

The Aviators begin their 2015 campaign May 15 on the road against the Gateway Grizzlies. Opening Day at Aviators Stadium will be May 19, as the Aviators host the Traverse City Beach Bums.

For the most up-to-date information on the Aviators, like the team’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/RockfordAviators or follow the team on Twitter at @RockAviators.

Posted Jan. 13, 2015

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