Yankees Make Rachel Balkovec First Female Manager in Minors

Rachel Balkovec shattered one barrier by becoming the first full-time female hitting coach within an MLB organization, and is now set to reach a new frontier. 

The 34-year-old Balkovec will be named manager for the Yankees’ Low-A affiliate in Tampa this season, a source confirmed Sunday, as first reported by The Athletic. Balkovec will become the first woman to manage an affiliated minor league team. 

She spent the last two seasons as hitting coach in the Yankees’ rookie-level Florida Complex League. Last year she served as the first-base coach for the All-Star Futures Game in Denver — another first for a woman. Balkovec called her trailblazing, “a responsibility” that she doesn’t take lightly. 

“I think about it literally every single day,” she said last summer. “There’s not a day that doesn’t cross my mind and think about my actions. … Everything I went through early in my career, I had some trouble getting in, things along the way that have happened, makes it worth it when you know that you’re making change like that. … It’s definitely something I don’t take lightly.” 

Rachel Balkovec
Rachel Balkovec spent the last two years as hitting coach at the Yankees’ rookie-level Florida Complex League. 
Rachel Balkovec
Rachel Balkovec

The Omaha, Neb., native served as a strength and conditioning coach in the minor leagues for the Cardinals and Astros before coming to the Yankees. She has also worked with the Dutch national team as a skill acquisition coach and coached in the Australian Baseball League. 

“I have a special interest in biomechanics and understanding how the body moves and applying certain things, like for example, if there is a restriction in movement can they spot those types of things,’’ Balkovec said in 2019. “How is that going to affect their swing mechanics and the ability to get something done in a game situation. Also, the visual side of things, what are the best strategies of things picking up the ball for recognizing a pitch? There are two sides of it, and I am not sure which one is more important at this point, but I am leaning more to the visual aspect not very many people are diving into I think at this point. It’s two-fold, understanding the body from a very base level and how it applies to the swing and action.’’