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Yankees minor league manager Rachel Balkovec injured by ball

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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Rachel Balkovec, hired by the New York Yankees as the first woman to manage a minor league affiliate of a Major League Baseball team, was struck in the face by a batted ball during an exercise and will be out of play. up to a week.

Balkovec was hit on Tuesday. She will not be available for her first scheduled spring training game on Thursday with Class A Tampa.

Balkovec, 34, did not suffer a concussion but does have facial swelling, the Yankees said Wednesday. She was involved in a batting drill in a covered cage at the minor league complex when she was injured.

Team doctors have instructed Balkovec to rest for the next five to seven days. She will be re-examined after the swelling goes down.

“All things considered, I feel very lucky,” Balkovec said in a statement. “The doctors have asked me to be smart about limiting my activities for the next few days, and I plan to follow their instructions. Being around the players and staff, I don’t anticipate this affecting my role and responsibilities for the regular season.”

Balkovec is scheduled to manage her first regular-season game on April 8 at Lakeland.

Balkovec has broken through several barriers on his way to the job. She was the first woman to serve as a full-time minor league strength and conditioning coach, and then the first to serve as a full-time hitting coach in the minors with the Yankees.

The Yankees announced his hiring as minor league manager in January.

Balkovec, a former softball catcher at Creighton and New Mexico, landed her first professional baseball job with the St. Louis Cardinals as a minor league strength and conditioning coach in 2012.

Balkovec joined the Houston Astros in 2016. She was hired as the strength and conditioning coordinator for Latin America and later was a strength and conditioning coach at Double-A Corpus Christi.

She joined the Yankees organization as a minor league hitting coach in 2019.

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