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High Point Rockers Announce 3 Player Signings Including 2 Returning Starters

April 10, 2024 - Atlantic League (AtL)
High Point Rockers News Release

HIGH POINT, N.C. - The High Point Rockers have announced three more player signings for 2024 including a pair of returning starters. The Rockers will welcome back outfielder Ben Aklinski and infielder Michael Martinez along with left-handed pitcher Zach Muckenhirn. Martinez will start his fourth season with the Rockers while Aklinski returns for a third campaign after earning Atlantic League All-Star honors last season. Muckenhirn, who was in the Major Leagues with the New York Mets in 2023, will help bolster the Rockers' pitching staff.

"It's impossible to really put a number on how valuable Ben and Michael have been to this club," said Rockers manager Jamie Keefe. "With Ben, you have one of the premier hitters to play in this league and a guy who gives you his full effort every day. Michael is such a professional with incredible experience who serves as a unifying influence on this club everyday."

Aklinski had a remarkable year for the Rockers in 2023, leading the Atlantic League in runs scored with 114 and finishing second with 102 RBI, both High Point club records. He hit .286 for the season and was a member of the 20-30 club with 24 homers and 31 stolen bases. Defensively, he did not commit an error in 121 games in the outfield and had nine outfield assists.

Martinez, 41, will begin his fourth season with the Rockers and his 17th season in professional baseball since signing with the Washington Nationals in 2006. Martinez played seven seasons in the Major Leagues, reaching the World Series with Cleveland in 2016. In his three seasons with the Rockers, Martinez has hit .276 with 13 homers and 127 RBI. The switch-hitter brings an elite level of experience and professionalism to the Rockers clubhouse every day. Martinez enters the 2024 season just nine hits away from reaching the 1,600 mark for his professional career.

Muckenhirn, 29, will join the Rockers for the 2024 season. Most recently with the New York Mets, Muckenhirn made three MLB appearances in 2023 while also spending time at Class AAA Syracuse. A reliever and spot starter, the former University of North Dakota pitcher has compiled a 22-22 minor league record with a 4.15 ERA and 419 strikeouts in 423.1 innings while walking just 155. While at UND, Muckenhirn earned a shutout win in a victory over No. 12 Southern California in 2016 and also fanned 12 in eight innings in a start against Alabama. An 11th round pick of Baltimore in the 2016 MLB Draft, Muckenhirn will be a strong addition to the Rockers' staff this year.

"I'm very excited to have Zach on our staff," said Rockers pitching coach and former American League Cy Young Award winner Frank Viola. "Zach pitched in the Majors last year and was very successful with a mid-90s fastball and a very good change. This year we will look to extend him and add in his slider and give him a chance to get back to the Majors."

The Rockers will open the 2024 season at the Lexington Legends on Thursday, April 25 with the home opener slated for Tuesday, April 30 at Truist Point against the Charleston Dirty Birds. Tickets are on sale now at or by calling the Truist Point Ticket Office at (336) 888-1010.

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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