Rachel Balkovec, who joined the New York Yankees organization as a hitting coach in 2019, will serve as the manager for the Low-A Tampa Tarpons next season, sources told The Athletic. The move makes Balkovec the first female manager in affiliated professional baseball.
Balkovec started her pro baseball career as a strength and conditioning coach with a St. Louis Cardinals minor-league affiliate in 2012. She went on to become the Houston Astros’ Latin American strength and conditioning coordinator, also becoming the first woman to hold that position, before moving into the same role with the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks.
After taking time away from American baseball to pursue an additional master’s degree in the Netherlands, Balkovec did a fellowship with Driveline Baseball, the Washington-based player development organization. She was then hired by the Yankees as a minor-league hitting coach.
Balkovec, 34, was a catcher for the softball teams at Creighton and the University of New Mexico. Her appointment comes after a recent run of history-making moves for women in baseball, including Kim Ng’s hiring as general manager of the Miami Marlins in 2020 and Bianca Smith becoming the first Black woman to coach in pro baseball last year.