Giants make Alyssa Nakken first female coach in MLB history

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Friday, January 17, 2020

SAN FRANCISCO -- Alyssa Nakken became the first female coach on a major league staff in baseball history Thursday when she was named an assistant under new San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler.

Major League Baseball confirmed Nakken is the first full-time female coach in the majors. She is a former softball standout at first base for Sacramento State who joined the club in 2014 as an intern in baseball operations. She and Mark Hallberg, who also was named as an assistant Thursday, will work to promote high performance along with a close-knit team atmosphere, Kapler said.

Kapler had indicated during the winter meetings that he would hire some coaches for nontraditional roles.

Kapler said Nakken will travel full time with the team, will be in uniform before games and will throw batting practice and hit fungoes.

"Simply, I think she's going to be a great coach," Kapler said. "Merit and the ability to be a great coach trumps all."

The team said Nakken has been responsible for "developing, producing and directing a number of the organization's health and wellness initiatives and events."

At Sacramento State from 2009 to 2012, Nakken was a three-time all-conference player and four-time Academic All-American. She went on to earn a master's degree in sports management from the University of San Francisco in 2015.

"Alyssa and Mark are highly respected members of the organization and I'm delighted that they will now focus their talents on helping to build a winning culture in the clubhouse," Kapler said. "In every organization, environment affects performance, and baseball clubhouses are no different. That's why in addition to assisting the rest of the coaching staff on the field, Mark and Alyssa will focus on fostering a clubhouse culture that promotes high performance through, among other attributes, a deep sense of collaboration and team."

Kapler has received criticism for the way he handled sexual assault allegations in 2015 against Dodgers minor league players when he served as director of player development for Los Angeles. Kapler said after he was hired by the Giants in November that he felt "a lot of remorse" for mishandling the incident.

Also Thursday, San Francisco signed left-hander Drew Smyly to a one-year contract. Smyly, 30, went a combined 4-7 with a 6.24 ERA over 25 appearances with 21 starts and 114 innings between Texas and Philadelphia last season.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.