Rachel Balkovec: Yankees Hire First Female Hitting Coach Ever

While the New York Yankees’ biggest hitter, Aaron Judge, is out indefinitely, the Yankees were still able to make the biggest hit of the offseason. They hired Rachel Balkovec, making her the first woman to be employed as a full-time hitting coach in MLB history, according to CBS News.

Making history seems to be regular for Balkovec as she was also the first woman to be a full-time strength and conditioning coach for a major league affiliated baseball organization when she worked for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Before she was able to don the Yankee pinstripes, Balkovec struggled to get any job. She had applied to several jobs yet was unsuccessful. She almost broke through in 2013 when an unnamed team had given her a callback but bluntly admitted that they couldn’t hire her due to her gender. Her two Masters degrees in human movement science, weightlifting, and softball experience were rendered useless in the eyes of several organizations because of her gender. Balkovec even changed her name from “Rachel” to “Rae” on her resume which led to more responses until they called and found out she was a woman.

Eventually, The St. Louis Cardinals hired her as a strength coach. Her foot was in the door and she took full advantage of the opportunity. Her stint with the Cardinals led to her getting another strength and conditioning job affiliated with the Houston Astros where she met a man by the name of Dillon Lawson, who was a minor league hitting coach at the time.

Lawson and Balkovec formed a bond created by their mutual love of the game and desire to help athletes improve. Now, Lawson and Balkovec are reunited as he is the hitting coordinator for the Yankees and she is the new hitting coach. Lawson gushed over Balkovec’s skillset. “I think it’s pretty clear when someone is elite at their job they stand out. She’s over-qualified for almost every job that she’s ever had. She’s just that good,” Lawson said. Yankees Assistant General Manager Jean Afterman also added her praises when she said, “The door opened for Rachel, not only because she’s extremely qualified, but because she was bringing a new way of training, and a new vision of training that we were hungry for.”

Balkovec officially began work with the Yankees in February and strives to bring success to the Yankees throughout the upcoming season.

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