Monday, January 24, 2022

Yankees’ Rachel Balkovec becomes first woman named minor-league manager, will take over Low-A club

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The New York Yankees have named Rachel Balkovec as the new manager of their Low-A affiliate, the Tampa Tarpons, MLB.com confirmed Monday. Lindsey Adler of The Athletic first reported the news Sunday night. Balkovec is the first woman to manage on a full-time basis in MLB‘s version of the minor leagues. 

Balkovec, 34 years old, was previously the first woman to be named as a hitting coach. The Yankees appointed her to that position in their system prior to the 2020 season. She spent last season coaching in the Florida Complex League, but was rewarded with a spot on the Futures Game, an annual staple during MLB’s All-Star Game festivities.

“I started thinking about my journey,” Balkovec told MLB.com about that opportunity. “I’ve been in the game for more than 10 years, so this is something that’s been a long time coming. My first reaction was to make sure that this is something I have earned and that I’m getting it for the right reasons, not maybe just because of my gender.”

Prior to joining the Yankees, Balkovec had served as a strength and conditioning coach on the minor-league side for both the St. Louis Cardinals and Houston Astros organizations. In addition to those roles, Balkovec has worked with the Dutch national team as a skill acquisition coach and has coached in the Australian Baseball League.

Balkovec’s promotion caps off a notable weekend for women in baseball. On Friday, teenage left-hander Genevieve Beacom made her debut in the aforementioned Australian Baseball League. Beacom threw a scoreless frame for the Melbourne Aces. 

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