Jessica Mendoza, Aaron Boone join 'Sunday Night Baseball' broadcast

Jessica Mendoza has been named as one of the voices of ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball coverage, joining newcomer Aaron Boone and play-by-play man Dan Shulman in the booth.

Mendoza, a former Olympic softball star, joined the Sunday Night booth late last season after Curt Schilling was suspended. She seized the opportunity and was rewarded Wednesday when the network announced its new team.

Schilling moves to Monday Night Baseball, and John Kruk returns to "Baseball Tonight."

"It's just crazy when I look back, and literally less than six months ago I had no idea what was going to happen after the Monday night games," Mendoza told the Associated Press.

Mendoza, 35, joined ESPN in 2007 after a softball career at Stanford and in the Olympics. She didn't give much thought to calling baseball until the following year, when Kruk took part in Women's College World Series coverage.

Mendoza saw how knowledge of one sport could translate to the other. Still, she acknowledged, historically there was just "one-way traffic" -- her father, a baseball coach, would guide her softball teams, but a woman typically wouldn't instruct baseball players.

She later did some sideline reporting on men's sports and studio work for "Baseball Tonight." In June, Mendoza became the first female game analyst for a men's College World Series telecast.

On Aug. 24, 2015, she called the Monday night matchup between the Cardinals and Diamondbacks. The next morning, Schilling posted -- then quickly deleted -- a tweet comparing Muslims to Nazis. ESPN pulled him from that Sunday's game and replaced him with Mendoza.

That night, the Cubs' Jake Arrieta made history that night by no-hitting the Dodgers. Mendoza made history after her debut earned rave reviews, sticking on Sunday night the rest of the season and becoming the first female analyst to call a nationally televised MLB playoff game when she worked the AL wild-card matchup.

John Wildhack, ESPN's executive vice president for programming and production, said Mendoza "seized the moment" when she got an opportunity. He to the Associated Press that as he talked to others in the industry about Mendoza's performance, he realized: "Wow, this was not just good. This was really, really, really good."

She and Boone will be the fifth different analyst team in six seasons for "Sunday Night Baseball" since Jon Miller and Joe Morgan departed after 21 years in 2010 -- partly because Bobby Valentine and Terry Francona each left the booth to return to managing.

The 42-year-old Boone, who joined ESPN in 2010 after playing a dozen seasons in the majors, moves up from the Monday night games. "Sunday Night Baseball" also gets a new producer in Andy Reichwald, who also comes over from Mondays, while Buster Olney returns as the reporter.

"If this team establishes themselves as we hope and we think they can," Wildhack said, "it will be terrific for us, terrific for 'Sunday Night Baseball' and terrific for the sport."

Schilling will be part of a Monday Night Baseball team that includes Eduardo Perez and play-by-play voices Karl Ravech and Dave Flemming, who will split duties.

Sunday Night Baseball opens April 3 with the New York Mets visiting the Kansas City Royals in a rematch of the World Series. ESPN will show two other games that day -- St. Louis at Pittsburgh (1 p.m. ET, ESPN) and Toronto at Tampa Bay (4 p.m. ET, ESPN2).

ESPN networks will have four games on Monday, April 4: Houston at New York Yankees (1 p.m. ET, ESPN), Seattle at Texas (4 p.m. ET, ESPN), Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego (7 p.m. ET, ESPN) and Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Angels (10 p.m. ET, ESPN2).

Information from The Associated Press is included in this report.