Yankees' Rachel Balkovec introduced as first female minor-league manager: 'The negativity, it's hilarious'

Wed, Jan 12, 2022
MLB News (AP)

Yankees' Rachel Balkovec introduced as first female minor-league manager: 'The negativity, it's hilarious'

The New York Yankees officially introduced Rachel Balkovec as the manager of their Low-A affiliate, the Tampa Tarpons, on Wednesday afternoon. News of Balkovec's appointment had first been reported by The Athletic's Lindsey Adler on Sunday night. Balkovec, who will be the first woman to manage a team in affiliated ball, spent the previous two seasons working at the complex level with the Yankees.

Prior to joining the Yankees, she had completed stints as a strength and conditioning coach with both the St. Louis Cardinals and Houston Astros organizations. Balkovec has also ventured into international waters, spending time coaching in the Australian Baseball League and with the Dutch national team.

"If you know my story, and you have a pulse, it's pretty hard to not get behind what's going on here," Balkovec said during her press conference when asked about her critics. "The negativity, it's hilarious to me because this is the American Dream."

Balkovec added that she wants to be a "visible" role model to young women.

While it's too early to know who Balkovec will manage next season in Tampa, she was asked about one Yankees prospect in particular: teenage outfielder Jasson Dominguez, who appeared in 49 games with the Tarpons last season. (He hit .258/.346/.398 with five home runs and seven stolen bases in those contests.)

Dominguez, nicknamed "The Martian" because of his physicality and his apparent promise, signed with the Yankees as an international free-agent in 2019. He received a $5.1 million signing bonus. Balkovec praised Dominguez's ability to impact the baseball while praising him as a human being and clubhouse presence.

It's worth noting that Major League Baseball's owner-imposed lockout should not affect Balkovec's managerial debut. Rather, the minor leagues should continue on as normal since the players are not represented by MLB's Players Association.

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