CLEVELAND — Amanda Kamekona, a former star softball player at UCLA, has been hired as a minor league hitting instructor for the Cleveland Guardians. She’s the first female on-field coach in team history.

Kamekona will be based at the team’s year-round complex in Goodyear, Arizona, where she’ll work with the team’s developmental players. The Guardians have an Arizona Rookie League team.

The 36-year-old’s hiring continues a trend throughout Major League Baseball of teams adding female coaches to their staffs. The Guardians have had women coach mental skills, but have never previously had a female instructor working with players on the field.

Kamekona played two years at Cal State-Fullerton before transferring to UCLA in 2008. She was twice named a third-team All-American selection while helping the Bruins post a 96-20 record in two seasons.

She still holds the school record with eight RBs in one game. In 2008, Kamekona led UCLA in almost every offensive category with 14 homers, 46 RBI, 17 doubles and 47 runs.

After college, she played in the National Pro Fastpitch League with Carolina and New York-New Jersey. She later served as a coach at Limestone College and Brevard College, and most recently coached at Bishop Amat Memorial High School in La Puente, California.


In recent years, MLB has increased its efforts to give female coaches more on-field opportunities. Last season, Rachel Balkovec became the first woman to manage a minor league affiliate when she was hired by the New York Yankees to guide their Class A team in Tampa, Florida.

Also, San Francisco’s Alyssa Nakken became the first female coach on the field in a regular-season game when she coached first base during a game against the San Diego Padres.

METS: The active New York Mets added another newcomer to their bullpen mix when they claimed reliever Sam Coonrod off waivers from the NL East rival Philadelphia Phillies.

Coonrod had a 7.82 ERA in 12 appearances covering 12 2/3 innings last year for the National League champions. The right-hander is 7-5 with a 5.27 ERA and five saves in 105 games over four major league seasons with San Francisco and Philadelphia. He has struck out 95 and walked 44 in 97 1/3 innings.

The 30-year-old Coonrod was designated for assignment by the Phillies last week when they signed free agent infielder Josh Harrison.

To make room on the 40-man roster, outfielder Khalil Lee was designated for assignment by the Mets.


WBC: Major League Baseball’s new pitch clock, limits on shifts and larger bases will not be used during the World Baseball Classic.

The three innovations will be debuted during the spring training exhibition season that starts Feb. 24. The 20-team national team tournament runs from March 8-21, and players will return to their clubs for more exhibition games with the new rules ahead of Opening Day on March 30.

ARBITRATION: Reliever Colin Poche went to salary arbitration with the Tampa Bay Rays with the sides just $125,000 apart.

The gap between the $1.3 million the pitcher asked for and the $1,175,000 the team offered was the smallest among the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration figures last month. The case was heard by John Woods, Jeanne Vonhof and Walt De Treux, who will hold their decision until later this month.

A 29-year-old left-hander, Poche had Tommy John surgery on July 29, 2020, and returned to the major leagues last April 22 after six appearances at Triple-A Durham. Poche was 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA and seven saves in 65 relief appearances for the Rays. He struck out 64 and walked 22 in 58 2/3 innings.

Poche had a $707,800 salary last year.

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