Female minor league manager gets day as D-backs bench coach

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — As she prepares for her first managing job in the minor leagues, Ronnie Gajownik took on a temporary role Saturday — bench coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

D-backs manager Torey Lovullo confirmed Gajownik's spot before the spring training game against San Diego, and they sat next to each other talking as the first inning started.

The 29-year-old Gajownik was hired during the offseason as manager of the D-backs minor league affiliate Hillsboro Hops. She’ll be the first woman to manage a Class High-A team.

“I told her were just going to sit down, talk baseball for nine innings and let’s have some fun with it,” Lovullo said. “I said, ‘You think I’m going to be teaching you things, but you’re going to be teaching me things as well.’

“I’m just appreciating my time with her. She’s a spectacular teacher and can relate with the players very well,” he said.

Rachel Balkovec became the first woman to manage a minor league affiliate of a Major League Baseball team last year when she led the New York Yankees’ Class A Tampa Tarpons.

Gajownik was a two-year starter on South Florida’s softball team and also won a gold medal with the United States in the 2015 Pan American Games.

“Her work ethic and attention to detail has made her a good coach and will also make her a good manager,” Lovullo said.

Gajownik served as video coordinator for the Hops in 2021. She was on the coaching staff of the Amarillo Sod Poodles, the D-backs' Double-A affiliate, last season as the first base coach.


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David Brandt, The Associated Press