Things with the Miami Marlins have gotten crazier and crazier, but today they hit a little closer to home. Marlins' hitting coach Tino Martinez resigned after allegations of physical and verbal abuse made by several players.
The Miami Herald's Clark Spencer1 reported in Sunday's paper that second baseman Derek Dietrich said that Martinez grabbed him by the neck and the chain around his neck. He told team officials of this incident several months ago. Since then other players made similar remarks and said the incidents started from "...day one". An unnamed player accused Martinez of coaching with intimidation tactics.
Spencer reported that Martinez was ready to resign before Sunday's game with Pittsburgh, but owner Jeffrey Loria would not accept the resignation. Things apparently changed during Sunday's game when Martinez met with Loria.
Martinez was an intense player in 16 Major League seasons, his best with the Yankees and Seattle Mariners, but seemed like a nice guy off the field. Apparently his idea of coaching is something better suited for the NFL or MMA.
UPDATE - 6:05 PM: Tino Martinez released the following statement:
"I want to apologize to the Marlins organization for my behavior," Martinez said. "I have made some comments to certain players at certain times that I thought was more constructive criticism. Obviously, they didn't feel that way, and it kind of backfired on me."
"It has been building for a few days," he said. "I didn't know this was going to come out publicly. When this came out, I thought it was the right thing to do."
"I just thought with some young players you needed to be a little firmer and try to get them on the right track," he said. "I probably used some four-letter words. I thought I was doing the right thing. Obviously, I wasn't."
"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 OK."2
UPDATED 6:30 - More from the Miami Herald:
Tino Martinez - “That 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.”
According to sources, Martinez erupted over seemingly minor issues that didn’t merit such anger. In addition to Dietrich, who was demoted to the minors last week, Martinez became excessively angry with outfielder Justin Ruggiano, first baseman Casey Kotchman, infielder Chris Valaika and minor-league infielder Matt Downs, among others.
1 - Miami Herald Sports
2 - ABC News