The Yankees have hired Rachel Balkovec as a minor-league hitting coach. Balkovec is believed to be the first female full-time hitting coach hired by a major league organization, as Lindsay Berra notes in the New York Times.
Club officials said they had hired Balkovec based on qualifications — including two master's degrees in the science of human movement and experience at several minor league clubs — that were a natural fit with the coaching crew being assembled for next season.
"It's an easy answer to why we chose Rachel for this role," Yankees hitting coordinator Dillon Lawson told Berra. "She's a good hitting coach, and a good coach, period."
Balkovec, 32, will begin her new role in Tampa starting in early February of next year. Previously, she worked as minor league strength and conditioning coordinator for the Cardinals, the Astros' Latin American strength and conditioning coordinator, and then as the strength and conditioning coach for Double-A Corpus Christi. Balkovec also worked as a contract strength and conditioning coach for a Cardinals affiliate and was named Appalachian League's strength coach of the year in 2012, according to Berra. That Balkovec has now been tabbed by MLB's most popular and recognizable franchise makes the historic hiring all the more notable.
Balkovec was hired in early November. Not long thereafter, the Cubs announced the hiring of Rachel Folden as the lead hitting lab tech and fourth coach for the Rookie League in Mesa, Arizona.