Tino Martinez resigns after abuse allegations

July 29, 2013

Tino Martinez’s stint as the Marlins coach didn’t last long. (Alan Diaz / AP)

Tino Martinez resigned Sunday as Miami Marlins hitting coach because of allegations that he physically and verbally abused players.

The resignation of Martinez, who was in his first season as hitting coach and was the hand-picked choice of Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, was announced Sunday evening.

“I want to apologize to the Marlins organization for my behavior,” Martinez, 45, said (via the Miami Herald). “I think I was frustrated at times, the way players were behaving and certain ways they were doing things. When I asked them to do something and they wouldn’t do it, whatever it may be, I thought the way to get through was by being firm with them, and I probably used some four-letter words.”

Martinez said he had grabbed rookie second baseman Derek Dietrich by the front of his jersey in early May but denied reports that he had grabbed Dietrich by the neck.

“The only thing I’ve done is, I did grab Dietrich — we had a little thing in the [batting] cage one day — by the jersey,” Martinez said. “That was it. I never touched his neck. I never grabbed his neck. If anything else, [I want] his parents to know that because I have a 20-year-old son and I would be very upset if someone grabbed my son’s neck. That never happened.”

Martinez’s resignation is inconsistent with his 16-year career as a player, with the New York Yankees, Seattle Mariners, St. Louis Cardinals and Tampa Bay Rays. He amassed 1,925 hits, with 339 home runs and a .271 average. The Marlins, 40-63, are last in baseball with a .232 batting average, which no doubt contributed to Martinez’s frustration. But a source told the Herald that Martinez’s behavior had been abusive since spring training.

Martinez also was angered by, among others, outfielder Justin Ruggiano, first baseman Casey Kotchman, infielder Chris Valaika and minor-league infielder Matt Downs, according to the Herald. The situation came to a head when Dietrich was demoted last week and his agent reported the incident that occurred in May — on Dietrich’s fifth day in the majors– to the Marlins.

“It’s all shocked everybody,” a unnamed player, who asked not to be identified for fear of retribution, told the Herald’s Clark Spencer. “He uses intimidation. It’s been a problem since Day One.”

Martinez initially wanted to resign when the Dietrich details emerged, but was convinced to stay by Loria. The Major League Baseball Players Association was notified of the incidents, however, and contacted the commissioner’s office, which demanded action.

“I don’t know long term how it’s going to affect me,” he said. “Right now I’m disappointed in myself. I’m embarrassed. Right now I’m not worried about the future. I just want to make sure my family is okay.”

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After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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Cindy Boren | July 25, 2013