Rachel Balkovec teaches at the New York Yankees minor-league minicamp. She is also a student.
Balkovec was the first woman to be hired to manage a minor-league affiliate of a Major League Baseball baseball team. She was promoted by the Yankees last month to the position of dugout boss for the Low A Tampa Tarpons.
She has overcome many obstacles on her path to this position, at 34 years old. She was the first woman to become a full time minor league strength and conditioning coach.
Balkovec stated that he was grateful for Wednesday’s practice. “These guys are here for preparation, and I’m also there studying every morning, watching video and learning aspects about defense. Our defense philosophy.
Balkovec was involved in live batting practice and worked with prospects Jasson Dominguez.
Balkovec stated that it’s just a small amount of everything at the moment. “It’s a combination of getting caught up on the defensive side of things, and spending time hitting in the cages while still trying to keep my foot there. It’s all over the place right now.
Balkovec will manage the clubhouse in Tampa and oversee the development of the Yankees’ future big leaguers. She expressed gratitude for the great support she received from both players and staff.
Balkovec stated that the players called me “Skip” and all, which was a bit snarky. However, it’s been very well-received, and it feels really natural for him to be open with them. It’s a privilege to be able to set a standard. This is something I have done all my life and want to do more of.
Balkovec said, “In a positive way it feels something that is even more natural for me than being an hitting coach.”
Balkovec was there to support Dominguez during an interview in English. This is a language he is still learning.
Balkovec stated, “It’s something I am passionate about and it’s something I do all the time.”
Balkovec, a former softball catcher for Creighton and New Mexico has a master’s in kinesiology and a second in human movement sciences from Vrije University. Since 2012 when she was able to enter pro baseball, Balkovec has worked in strength conditioning for the St. Louis Cardinals as well as the Houston Astros. She also spent time at Driveline Baseball which is a data-driven facility that has trained many major leaguers.
Balkovec will manage her first regular season game on April. 8 at Lakeland Flying Tigers
TOGETHER IN TAMPA
Kevin Reese, the Yankees’ senior director of player growth, said that it is not yet known where Dominguez would start the season. However, Tampa appears likely.
Dominguez was awarded a $5.1million signing bonus in 2019. He hit.252 with five homers, 19 RBIs and 56 runs in 56 games between rookie-level FCL in Tampa and Tampa in 2021 in his first professional season.