New York Yankees promote Balkovec; becomes first female minor league manager

Per reports, the New York Yankees have promoted Rachel Balkovec to manager of the Low-A Tampa Tarpons. Balkovec, 34, will become the first female to manage a minor league baseball team.

The Yankees signed Balkoveic in 2019 as a minor league hitting instructor. Before joining the Yankees’ organization, she served in strength and conditioning roles with the Chicago White Sox, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Houston Astros.

Prior to coaching, Balkovec played four seasons of Division I softball. She enrolled at Creighton University in 2005 before transferring to the University of New Mexico and graduating in 2009.

Balkovec will take the role from David Adams, who managed the club last season. At this time, Adams’ future role with the organization is unclear.

It’s expected the Tarpons will have top prospect, Jasson Dominguez, on the roster in 2022. The team could also host Trey Sweeney and Yoendrys Gomez, both of whom are top-10 prospects in the Yankees’ organization.

Balkovec’s promotion to manager is historic. Only a few women are employed in coaching roles by MLB organizations, and she’ll be the first to call the shots for an affiliate.

Notably, late last year, the Pittsburgh Pirates signed Caitlyn Callahan to become the first in-uniform female coach. On Jan. 4, the Boston Red Sox signed Bianca Smith to serve as a minor league coach. Smith is the first Black female to coach in an MLB organization.

Amid lockout concerns, the start of the 2022 MLB season is in jeopardy. However, the minor league season will start regardless, meaning Balkovec will manage her first game on April 8 against the Lakeland Flying Tigers.