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Giants hire Alyssa Nakken as first female coach in MLB history

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Alyssa Nakken joined the San Francisco Giants in 2014 as an intern in the baseball operations department. Photo courtesy of Sacramento State Athletics
Alyssa Nakken joined the San Francisco Giants in 2014 as an intern in the baseball operations department. Photo courtesy of Sacramento State Athletics

Jan. 17 (UPI) -- The San Francisco Giants have hired Alyssa Nakken, making the former softball standout the first female coach in Major League Baseball history.

San Francisco announced the hiring of Nakken and Mark Hallberg as assistant coaches Thursday. Nakken, 29, was a star first baseman at Sacramento State before earning a master's degree in sports management from the University of San Francisco. She joined the Giants in 2014 as an intern in the baseball operations department.

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"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 a statement. "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."

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Nakken oversaw the Giants' health and wellness initiatives in her previous role with the franchise.

"We just supported her and encouraged her and let her make her own decisions, but we knew she was something special," Nakken's mother, Gaye Nakken, told CBS San Francisco Bay Area.

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Hallberg joined the Giants in 2018 as a fundamentals coach. The former Minor League Baseball infielder began his coaching career in the Cape Cod League. Hallberg managed the Class A Salem-Keizer Volcanoes last year.

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The Giants now have 13 coaches ahead of the 2020 season. MLB rules allow just seven coaches in dugouts, but Kapler told reporters Nakken will be in uniform before games when participating in batting and fielding practices.

Nakken wasn't the only woman considered for a job on Kapler's staff. The Giants interviewed Rachel Balkovec for a coaching role, before she was hired by the New York Yankees as a Minor League Baseball hitting coach.

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