Tino Martinez reportedly once challenged Casey Kotchman to a fight
Miami Marlins hitting coach Tino Martinez resigned on Sunday amid accusations that he has physically and verbally abused players. The agent for rookie second baseman Derek Dietrich reportedly informed team officials that Martnez blew up at Dietrich and grabbed him by the neck, and it is starting to sound like Martinez had a history of similar behavior.
Martinez admitted that he has cursed at players and raised his voice but denied ever physically abusing anyone.
“I want to say that I never physically touched anyone by the neck,” Martinez said, via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “That never happened. I have made some comments to certain players at certain times that I thought were more constructive criticism on separate occasions. Obviously they didn’t feel that way and it kind of backfired on me.
“I just thought with some young players you needed to be a little firmer and try to get them on the right track, but obviously I made a mistake and I apologize for that to the Marlins’ organization, my family and everyone involved.”
A source reportedly told the Sun-Sentinel that Martinez has been at odds with Marlins management for months, including manager Mike Redmond. A person who witnessed the alleged assault against Dietrich confirmed that Martinez grabbed him. Martinez reportedly had problems with several players and even tried to fight first basemen Casey Kotchman at one point during the season.
The Sun-Sentinel also reported that Martinez and Redmond recently had a verbal altercation and that Redmond made it clear he wanted the former New York Yankee gone. Despite the fact that Martinez had disagreements with several players, owner Jeffrey Loria tried to stop him from handing in his resignation.
“[Resigning] was the right thing to do,” Martinez said. “[Loria] thought there were other options, but no, that’s the right thing to do.”
Apparently the behavior has been going on since spring training, when Martinez reportedly blew up on minor league infielder Matt Downs for taking advice from minor league hitting coach Greg Norton instead of consulting with him. In fact, his mood swings have been so severe that some people within the organization have questioned whether Martinez is bi-polar.
Martinez was a fan favorite during his 16-year big league career, but how did he last this long with the Marlins? It sounds like Loria was protecting him, which isn’t surprising considering some of the questionable decisions the Marlins owner has been known to make. If these stories are true, Martinez should have been gone long ago.