Rachel Balkovec, Minor League Baseball's First Female Manager, Gets Black Eye from Batted Ball

"I'll never throw side flips again for the rest of eternity," Rachel Balkovec said on Instagram, showing off the shiner she received during a March 22 practice

Rachel Balkovec
Photo: Rachel Balkovec/Instagram

Rachel Balkovec is recovering after getting injured during a practice last week.

The 34-year-old former college softball catcher — who made history in January when she was announced as the Tampa Tarpons' new manager, making her the first female manager of a minor league baseball team — was hospitalized on March 22 when she was hit by a batted ball during drills for the New York Yankees' low Class A team, Today reported.

"All things considered, I feel very fortunate," Balkovec shared in a statement the following day. "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 reason," she added.

Balkovec was left with a black eye, which she showed off on Instagram on Thursday while recovering

"Well I *DID* have several modeling contracts lined up, but this put a wrench in those plans," Balkovec joked in her statement, captioning the photo of her shiner.

"Thanks for all of the messages," she added. "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 live your life in a way that you're okay leaving it at any moment. Not a minute to waste being, thinking or playing small."

"I'm not done yet," she added, in hashtag.

Rachel Balkovec
Mike Janes/Four Seam Images via AP

Balkovec will have time to recover for the Tarpons first game of the season, which is scheduled for April 8 against the Lakeland Flying Tigers.

She first joined the New York Yankees' organization as a minor league hitting coach in 2019.

Prior to her gig with the Yankees' organization, Balkovec started her professional baseball career in 2012 as a strength and conditioning coach at a St. Louis Cardinals minor league affiliate, per The Athletic.

In 2019, she spoke to the Associated Press about the hurdles she had to overcome as a woman in a male-driven sport. "I view my path as an advantage. I had to do probably much more than maybe a male counterpart, but I like that because I'm so much more prepared for the challenges that I might encounter," she said at the time.

"My mom always used to say, life's not fair," Balkovec added. "So, is it fair? No. Does it matter? No. You have to keep standing at that door banging on it."

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