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Diamondbacks Name Ronnie Gajownik 1st Female Manager in High-A Minors

Adam WellsJanuary 20, 2023

PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 26:  The Arizona Diamondbacks logo on the field during the MLB baseball game between the Chicago Cubs and the Arizona Diamondbacks on April 26, 2019 at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Ronnie Gajownik will be the first female manager at the High-A level for the Hillsboro Hops.

The Hops, the Arizona Diamondbacks' High-A affiliate, announced Gajownik's hiring for the 2023 season on Friday:

Minor League Baseball @MiLB

Congratulations Ronnie Gajownik on becoming the first female manager at High-A!<br><br>More on the new Hillsboro skipper: <a href="https://t.co/dNS1iwj7Q9">https://t.co/dNS1iwj7Q9</a> <a href="https://t.co/OtMoj6XKRF">pic.twitter.com/OtMoj6XKRF</a>

"I know that if my dad took me out of school on a Wednesday and we went to a baseball game and I saw a female coach on the field, I know Thursday my life would have been changing in the trajectory of where I want it to go," Gajownik told MLB.com's Steve Gilbert. "So the visibility aspect of it is huge, because, again, it's showing little girls and showing women that we're breaking the glass ceiling and we're leaving breadcrumbs for everybody behind us for us just to keep adding on to it to see how far we can go."

Gajownik originally joined the Diamondbacks organization as a player development intern in April 2021. She worked as a minor league coach for Arizona last season.

Gilbert noted the Diamondbacks originally intended for Gajownik to coach one of their Complex League teams last season, but Javier Colina, a coach for their Double-A team in Amarillo, suffered a foot injury that opened the door for her to be Amarillo's first base coach.

Diamondbacks farm director Josh Barfield told Gilbert that Gajownik only needed "about two seconds" to fit in with her role on the Double-A coaching staff.

"She's just got such an ease about her, the way she connects with people," Barfield explained. "I think some of the best coaches—obviously they have good content and she has that. But I also think they're incredible connectors and she's definitely one of those. She shows leadership, she shows initiative."

A former player on the USA women's baseball team, Gajownik began her coaching career at UMass Amherst in 2017. She also worked as a developmental coach for the USA Girls Baseball Camp in 2021.

Gajownik will be the second woman to manage a minor league team. The New York Yankees hired Rachel Balkovec as manager of their Low-A affiliate, the Tampa Tarpons, for the 2022 season.

The Diamondbacks have yet to announce their minor league rosters for this season, but Gajownik could potentially manage a team that includes former 2022 first-round pick Druw Jones.

Gajownik and Hillsboro will open the 2023 minor-league season on April 6 against Tri-City.