Baseball Digest

Their Turn At Bat

In baseball, history-making is usually left to the players on the field. But last winter, several clubs made trailblazing hires that signaled progress in segments of the game not known for inclusivity.

Teams hired women—as coaches.

Rachel Balkovec is a hitting coach in the New York Yankees’ minor-league system, the first woman to be hired in that role. Rachel Folden is the first female coach in Chicago Cubs’ history, after being named lead hitting-lab technician and a fourth coach for their Rookie-level Arizona League team. Christina Whitlock was recently named a fourth coach for the St. Louis Cardinals, assigned to work with minor-leaguers.

And Alyssa Nakken made the biggest splash of the winter when the San Francisco Giants announced in January that she would be an assistant coach on their major-league staff.

“It’s something I definitely don't take lightly,” said Nakken, who turns 30 on June 13. “This is just a huge step for baseball and society, just with all of these women getting hired into these positions that have traditionally been held by men.”

Though their debut seasons have been delayed by the shutdown of professional baseball due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak, Balkovec and Nakken are on the cover of the May-June issue of . This is historic, as they’re the first women in uniform to

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