New York Yankees hire female hitting instructor in historic first: report

The New York Yankees made a historic hire Friday, reportedly naming Rachel Balkovec as a hitting instructor who will be helping the organization at the major- and minor-league level.

Balkovec will be one of the first full-time female hitting coaches hired by an MLB team, The New York Times reported Friday. She is expected to report to the team’s spring training facility in Tampa, Fla., come February. Balkovec boasts two master’s degrees in the science of human movement, according to MLB.com.

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“It’s an easy answer to why we chose Rachel for this role,” Yankees hitting coordinator Dillon Lawson told The Times. “She’s a good hitting coach, and a good coach, period.”

Balkovec entered the majors with the St. Louis Cardinals as a part-time strength and conditioning coach and became the minor league strength and conditioning coordinator for the club in 2014.

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Two years later, she became the Houston Astros’ Latin American strength and conditioning coach and then, in 2018, she became the strength and conditioning coach for the Astros’ Double-A affiliate Corpus Christi Hooks.

Balkovec told The Times she faced discrimination when she was applying for jobs in Major League Baseball. She said she only started to receive interest when she changed her name on her resume to “Rae” and one team even told her they would “never hire a woman.”

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Balkovec had previously been a collegiate catcher on her softball teams. She played at Creighton and New Mexico during her college career.