The Yankees are poised to make history by promoting hitting coach Rachel Balkovec to be the manager of their Low-A Tampa farm club, a baseball source confirmed.
Balkovec, 34, confirmed the news late Sunday night with MLB.com. She'll become the first woman to manage a team affiliated with Major League Baseball.
The Yankees have not yet announced the promotion for Balkovec, who joined the organization as a minor-league hitting coach in 2019, making her the first woman with that job full-time in affiliated baseball.
She got her first position in pro ball with the St. Louis Cardinals as a minor-league strength and conditioning coach in 2012.
Balkovec, a former softball catcher at Creighton University and the University of New Mexico, moved from the Cardinals to the Houston Astros in 2016. She was hired as the Latin American strength and conditioning coordinator and later became the strength and conditioning coach at Double-A Corpus Christi.
In 2021, Balkovec became the first female coach in the Futures Game at the All-Star Game in Denver when she coached first base. She was given a loud ovation by the crowd at Coors Field when she was introduced and another one after she shook off a line drive off the bat of Seattle prospect Jarred Kelenic that hit her in the left calf.
Balkovec said on that day that she is well aware of her pioneer status in the game.
"It’s a responsibility," she said. "I think about it literally every single day. There’s not a day that it doesn’t cross my mind. I think about my actions and what my responsibility is — how can I move it forward? And to hear that [ovation], it’s totally shocking. Honestly at this point, after 10 years in the game, and I’m like, it matters . . . It makes it all worth it when you know that you’re making a change like that."
With The Associated Press