Blue Jays make history with Minors coach

January 10th, 2022

Jaime Vieira will become the first woman in a coaching role in the Blue Jays organization, after the club hired her Monday to be a Minor League hitting coach ahead of the 2022 season.

The club has not formally announced the hiring, which Sportsnet was first to report. Vieira's Twitter bio lists "Minor League Hitting Coach -- Toronto Blue Jays."

The Blue Jays have not decided on coaching assignments at the Minor League level for the upcoming campaign, so it is not yet clear which affiliate(s) Vieira might be assisting. But she has built a deep familiarity with Toronto, having occupied various roles around the organization since 2019.

Vieira was most recently working in the Blue Jays’ baseball operations department as a research and development intern, a position she held since last February. Prior to that, she was a programs specialist and coordinator for the Jays Care Foundation, which has since 1992 used baseball to teach life skills and create social change for youth in marginalized communities across Canada.

Vieira studied kinesiology and exercise science at the University of Guelph-Humber in Toronto, where she also played softball and later returned as a coach, then earned a master of science degree from York University.

The news of Vieira’s hiring comes a day after Rachel Balkovec made headlines for becoming the first female manager in affiliated professional baseball when the Yankees tapped her to manage their Low-A affiliate. Balkovec was also serving as a hitting coach in the Minors before that appointment, becoming the first female full-time hitting coach in an MLB organization in 2019.

Vieira will be the most visible woman in an on-field role for the Blue Jays since former head athletic trainer Nikki Huffman (2018-2019), who was the second woman to hold that title for a team in one of North America’s four major sports leagues.