Blue Jays hire Baseball Canada's Ashley Stephenson as minor league coach

Square Logo of the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team on a blue...
Square Logo of the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team on a blue... / Roberto Machado Noa/GettyImages

Per an announcement from Baseball Canada, the Toronto Blue Jays are hiring star BC coach/player Ashley Stephenson as a minor league coach. She will be joining the High-A Vancouver Canadians for the upcoming campaign.

Stephenson, 40, represents the latest addition of a woman to Major League Baseball organizations around the league, and is going to be a huge add for the Jays farm system.

She will be joining an ever-growing list of women (11 in 2022) around the league including names like Alyssa Nakken of the Giants, Rachel Balkovec of the Yankees and Jaime Vieira (now Lever), who is also a part of the Blue Jays system.

“I am really excited for this opportunity,” said Stephenson in the piece on Baseball Canada's website. “I’ve loved baseball and the Blue Jays since I was 3-years-old, and never really imagined that I’d be able to have a career in the game let alone with my favourite team. I’m looking forward to continuing to grow and develop as a coach all while doing my best to help our players reach their ultimate goal.

After a storied 15-year career as a player for the Women's National Team, Stephenson retired in 2018 and became a coach immediately after. She became the first woman to manage the Women's National Team when the club played a five-game series against the United States last year.

In August of 2022, Stephenson was brought to the Blue Jays Player Development Complex in Dunedin to serve as a guest coach. This provided the Jays enough information to warrant their interest in bringing her aboard as a full-time coach.

Joe Sclafani, the Director of Player Development said, “Ashley had been on our radar as a coaching candidate for a while before we invited her to come and help out at the complex. Seeing her work with our players and alongside our staff gave us more than enough confidence in her ability to succeed as a coach, we are elated to now have her as part of our staff in Vancouver and are excited to see her continue to grow as a coach as well as the impact she’ll have on our developing players.”

The addition of Stephenson to the Vancouver staff will give Brent Lavallee another Canadian-born coach, giving them a total of four. She told Kaitlyn McGrath of The Athletic that she anticipates helping the club with defense, baserunning and some first base coach duties.

McGrath goes on to note in her piece that Stephenson has many years of coaching experience under her belt already, whether it is in high school baseball, hockey, field hockey, and experience as a school teacher. Stephenson's new role for the Jays will require her to step away from teaching in early February to pursue her dream.

“I don’t anticipate it being easy by any means, but coaching is never easy,” she said to The Athletic. “Doesn’t matter what you coach, it’s never going to be easy. And so, there’ll be some bumps in the road, I’m sure, but I’m confident that I can be an asset to the team and to the organization as long as I stick to who I am and what I’m good at and the things that I believe in.”

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