Rachel Balkovec: New York Yankees name first female manager to Minor League Baseball affiliate

The Tampa Tarpons’ home field also serves as the New York Yankees’ base during spring training

Rachel Balkovec will become the first female manager in Minor League Baseball after the New York Yankees appointed her to one of their affiliate teams.

She will manage the Tampa Tarpons, who play at Low-A level, one of the lower tiers of the minor leagues.

Balkovec, 34, had been serving as a hitting coach for the Yankees’ rookie-level Florida Complex League side.

She was the first woman to become a full-time hitting coach in a Major League Baseball (MLB) organisation.

In 2020, Alyssa Naken became the first female coach at major league level, with the San Francisco Giants.

“I’m not the first woman to have a position in baseball, but I know this is a little different,” Balkovec told MLB.com when she was appointed to her previous role.

“I’m a product of the women who have come before me in sports. If somebody thinks I’m a trailblazer, great, because hopefully that’s creating an opportunity to think it’s possible for [others].”

In Minor League Baseball, players typically take several years to move up through the system, often starting in rookie or Low-A leagues after being signed or drafted, before moving up to High-A, AA and eventually to AAA, the final level before reaching the majors.

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