New York Yankees Name Rachel Balkovec Manager of the Tampa Tarpons
The New York Yankees today announced that Rachel Balkovec has been named the manager of the Tampa Tarpons, the Yankees' Low-A affiliate.
Balkovec, 34, is the first full-time female manager in the history of affiliated baseball at the Major or Minor League levels.
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 was a member of the American League coaching staff for the 2021 SiriusXM Futures Game in Denver and was one of six women in uniform with Major League teams or their affiliates last season.
Prior to joining the Yankees, Balkovec spent three seasons with the Houston Astros organization, serving as the strength and conditioning coach for Double-A Corpus Christi 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.
Balkovec was the first woman to be hired as a full-time strength and conditioning coach in affiliated baseball.
In between her stints with the Yankees and Astros, she served as an apprentice hitting coach for the Netherlands National Baseball and Softball programs while earning a master's degree in biomechanics at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands from 2018-19. As part of her education, Balkovec conducted research in eye-tracking for hitters at Driveline Baseball, a high-tech performance training center outside of Seattle, Wash.
Balkovec, who is bilingual, began her professional baseball career with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012 as a minor league strength & conditioning coaching intern. She also worked with the Chicago White Sox during the 2013-14 offseason as a strength & conditioning coaching intern. Balkovec's other stops and experiences include various roles at Arizona State University, the Arizona Fall League, Los Tigres del Licey of the Dominican Winter League and a 2020 hitting coach position with the Sydney Blue Sox of the Australian Baseball League.
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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