The New York Yankees made history by announcing the hiring of Rachel Balkovec, the first female full-time hitting coach for a major-league organization.
The Yankees signed Balkovec, 32, on Nov. 8, The New York Times reported. She is scheduled to report to the team's spring training complex in Tampa, Florida, on Feb. 1, according to the newspaper.
Balkovec will serve as a roving instructor throughout the organization.
The #Yankees have hired @damselndadugout Rachel Balkovec as a #minorleague hitting coach. She is believed to be the first woman hired as a full-time hitting coach by a #MLB team. My story via the @nytimes: https://t.co/k29qcNpPxY— Lindsay Berra (@lindsayberra) November 23, 2019
This is not the first time Balkovec has broken a gender barrier in pro baseball. She was a part-time strength and conditioning coach for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012, according to MLB.com. The Cardinals later promoted her to minor league strength and conditioning coordinator from 2014 to 2015, the website reported. That made her the first woman to hold those positions in pro baseball.
Originally from Omaha, Nebraska, Balkovec holds two master's degrees in the science of human movement, the Times reported.
Yankees hitting coordinator Dillon Lawson said Balkovec's qualifications made her an easy hire.
"It's an easy answer to why we chose Rachel for this role," Lawson told the Times. "She's a good hitting coach, and a good coach, period."
“During the interview process, I was blown away by the Yankees hitting staff,” Balkovec told the newspaper. “They are making aggressive operational changes to compete in the rapidly changing landscape of player development.”
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