Tino Martinez reportedly grabbed a player by the neck in an outburst several months ago. (Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Miami Marlins hitting coach Tino Martinez has been verbally abusive to players on numerous occasions since spring training, and several months ago erupted in anger and grabbed a player by the neck, reports The Miami Herald's Clark Spencer.
Martinez was going to resign after the incident, but Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, who made the surprising decision to hire him before the season, "nixed the idea," according to the report.
Martinez resigned following the Marlins' game against the Pirates on Sunday, Spencer is reporting.
David Meter, the agent for recently demoted second baseman Derek Dietrich, contacted team officials about the incident. Meter declined to comment to The Miami Herald.
Several discussions were in the works to determine a resolution for the situation before Martinez's resignation.
From the report:
The Major League Baseball Players' Association was notified of the alleged incident, as well as others involving Martinez, and the union then contacted the Commisioner's office. That office is expected to contact the Marlins on Tuesday to see how the matter is being resolved, sources said.
Martinez and manager Mike Redmond weren’t on the field at the start of batting practice before Friday’s game. Instead, two sources said they were meeting privately with Marlins front office executives to discuss the allegation.
Though Martinez had no previous professional coaching experience, Loria "hand-picked" him as the team's hitting coach, according to the report.
Since his hiring, Martinez -- a 45-year-old who played 16 major-league seasons, most notably seven with the Yankees (1996-2001) -- displayed volatile behavior as the Marlins sunk to last in MLB in scoring (3.16 runs per game).
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One Marlins player, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity, said Martinez has been verbally abusive to players on a number of occasions since the start of spring training in February. A few players have complained to Redmond about Martinez's behavior.
“It’s all shocked everybody,” the player said. “He uses intimidation. It’s been a problem since day one.”
According to sources who have witnessed Martinez's profanity-laced eruptions, other players who have been attacked verbally by Martinez include outfielder Justin Ruggiano, infielder Chris Valaika and minor-league infielder Matt Downs. Another source said the list of players is much larger than that.