Yankees Minor League Manager Rachel Balkovec Struck By Ball During Practice, Will Miss Debut Game

By Jennifer Roback

Credit: @rachel.balkovec/Instagram

Earlier this year, Rachel Balkovec, 34, made history by becoming the first woman to manage a minor league affiliate of a Major League Baseball team.


Despite this victory, her debut game has been postponed after she was struck in the face by a ball during a hitting drill.


"All things considered, I feel very fortunate," Balkovec said in a statement, via ESPN.


"The doctors have asked me to be smart about limiting my activities over the next several days, and I plan on following their guidance. As much as I already miss being around the players and staff, I do not anticipate this affecting my role and responsibilities for the regular season."


The hit left Balkovec's face swollen but she didn't sustain a concussion. She was instructed by team doctors to rest for the next five to seven days and then be reevaluated after the swelling goes down.


Her first regular-season game will now be on April 8, 2022, at Lakeland.


Following the incident, Balkovec then took to Instagram where she gave fans an update and made light of the situation.


"Well I *DID* have several modeling contracts lined up, but this put a wrench in those plans ;)," she joked. "Thanks for all of the messages- Just feeling extremely lucky, and also like I’ll never throw side flips again for the rest of eternity."


"This is why you have to life your life in a way that you’re okay leaving it at any moment," Balkovec continued. "Not a minute to waste being, thinking or playing small."


Over the years, Balkovec has risen through the ranks and first joined the Yankees in 2019 as a minor league hitting coach, prior to that she worked in strength and conditioning with the St. Louis Cardinals and Houston Astros.


She is also believed to be the first woman hitting coach employed by a major league team, according to The Associated Press.