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Astros Get Trailblazing Umpire Assignment For Spring Training Opener

The Houston Astros will see Jen Pawol for the first time, who could become MLB's first female umpire in a regular-season game.

The Houston Astros know at least one of the umpires that will work their first spring training game when they face the Washington Nationals. And it’s an umpire who could, one day, break Major League Baseball’s glass ceiling when it comes to umpiring.

Jen Pawol, per USA Today, will be part of the crew that works the Astros-Nationals game on Feb. 24. It will be her first spring training game of the season.

Pawol has worked in baseball as an umpire for nearly a decade and she’s closing in on becoming Major League Baseball’s first female umpire in a regular-season game.

She broke in as an umpire in the Gulf Coast League in 2016 and at the time she became just the seventh female to umpire a professional baseball game.

When she takes the field for the Astros-Nationals game she will be only the third woman to work a Major League spring training game, following Pam Postema and Ria Cortesio.

Like any player or umpire, she worked her way up through the minor league. In 2023 she became the first female umpire to work at the Triple-A level in more than three decades. She worked in both the International League and the Pacific Coast League. She was also the home plate umpire for last year’s Triple-A National Championship Game.

Per USA Today, Pawol will be on MLB’s call-up list. That’s just like a player being in line for a call-up to the Majors. Pawol could get called up to the Majors this season if there is an injury or an illness.

If she does get the call and works a game, she’ll be the first woman to umpire a regular-season Major League game. The other three major professional U.S. sports — the NFL, the NBA and the NFL — have employed female game officials.