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Balkovec to be first full-time female manager in affiliated ball

Tampa TarponsThe New York Yankees officially announced that Rachel Balkovec will become the full-time female manager in the history of affiliated baseball when she takes the helm at the Tampa Tarpons (Low-A Southeast).

She joined the Yankees organization in November 2019 as a minor-league hitting coach, becoming the first woman to be named to that role in the history of professional baseball (she was followed a few days later by Rachel Folden of the Chicago Cubs organization).

In the 2021 season, Balkovec served as a hitting coach for the Florida Complex League (FCL) Yankees, helping FCL Yankees batters lead the Florida Complex League in runs scored (366), home runs (65), RBI (312), slugging percentage (.465) and OPS (.843). The team also ranked second in walks (276), tied for second in triples (20), third in both batting average (.261) and on-base percentage (.378), fourth in hits (418), and sixth in doubles (90).

Balkovec has been working in pro baseball since 2012, joining the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012 as a minor league strength & conditioning coaching intern. Balkovec spent three seasons with the Houston Astros organization, serving as the strength and conditioning coach for the Corpus Christi (Class AA; Texas League) in 2018 and the Rookie-level GCL Astros in 2017. She also worked as the Latin American strength and conditioning coordinator from 2016-17. Prior to that, she was the minor league strength and conditioning coordinator for the St. Louis Cardinals from 2014-15.

The Omaha, Neb., native received her bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and exercise science from the University of New Mexico (2006-09), where she was a catcher on the softball team. She then earned a master’s degree in sports administration from Louisiana State University (2010-11), while also serving as a graduate assistant strength and conditioning coach.

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