In a groundbreaking move, Rachel Balkovec will manage the low-A Tampa Tarpons for the New York Yankees this season, making her the first female manager in affiliated professional baseball.

Balkovec joined the Yankees as a minor league hitting coach in November 2019.

The 34-year-old from Omaha, Neb., got her first position in pro ball with the St. Louis Cardinals as a minor league strength and conditioning coach in 2012.

A former softball catcher at Creighton and New Mexico, she moved on to the Houston Astros in 2016, where she was hired as the Latin American strength and conditioning coordinator and later became the strength and conditioning coach at Double-A Corpus Christi.

Balkovec briefly left baseball in 2018 to pursue a second master’s degree in the Netherlands, where she also worked with the country’s national baseball and softball teams. She then worked for the data-driven Driveline Baseball before being hired by New York.

“I view my path as an advantage,” Balkovec said in 2019. “I had to do probably much more than maybe a male counterpart, but I like that because I’m so much more prepared for the challenges that I might encounter.”

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