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Tampa's Tino Martinez resigns as Marlins hitting coach

Tino Martinez

Tino Martinez

MIAMI — Marlins hitting coach Tino Martinez resigned Sunday after a player notified the team that the Tampa native erupted in anger unjustly and grabbed him by his neck and neck chain, the Miami Herald reported.

Other players also said he has verbally abused them, with one target reportedly Casey Kotchman of Seminole, a former Ray.

According to the Herald, the agent for rookie second baseman Derek Dietrich, a former Rays farmhand who was demoted last week to the minors, contacted team officials about an incident.

Martinez acknowledged that he grabbed Dietrich by the jersey in the batting cage in early May but denied touching his neck. He said he offered to resign Friday, but team owner Jeffrey Loria wanted him to stay. When the complaints became public, Martinez decided to resign.

"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."

Dietrich's agent, David Meter, wouldn't comment. "I think it's a team issue," he said.

"I'm sure if there is an issue, it will be addressed," Marlins spokesman P.J. Loyello said.

The Major League Baseball Players' Association was notified of the incident, as well as others involving Martinez, and the union then contacted the commissioner's office. That office was expected to contact the Marlins on Tuesday.

Martinez, 45, a standout at Jefferson High and the University of Tampa, was in his first year as a professional coach.

"I'm embarrassed. I want to apologize to the Marlins organization for my behavior," said Martinez, who acknowledged he may have overreacted trying to be firm with younger players. "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."

According to the Herald, Martinez directed profanity-laced tirades at outfielder Justin Ruggiano — another former Ray — infielder Chris Valaika and minor-league infielder Matt Downs.

Marlins minor-league field coordinator John Pierson will become interim hitting coach.

Martinez played 16 years in the majors, one with the Rays, and amassed 1,925 hits.

Around the majors

PUJOLS IN DOUBT: Angels first baseman Albert Pujols went on the disabled list with a tear in his left foot that could end his season.

Manager Mike Scioscia said the slugger will be sidelined for "a significant amount of time."

Pujols has a partially torn plantar fascia, an injury that has bothered him most of the season. He aggravated it running out a single Friday.

"This is something that, talking to Albert, has been going on for six or seven years," Scioscia said. "This is a big blow to our team right now."

BRAVES: Right-hander Brandon Beachy, who had elbow ligament replacement surgery in June 2012, is set make his first start in more than a year tonight against the Rockies.

NATIONALS: Pitching coach Steve McCatty was hospitalized to treat an irregular heartbeat and high blood pressure and was expected to remain overnight for observation.

PIRATES: Outfielder Travis Snider went on the 15-day disabled list with discomfort in his left big toe. Catcher Tony Sanchez was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis.

Tampa's Tino Martinez resigns as Marlins hitting coach 07/28/13 [Last modified: Sunday, July 28, 2013 9:49pm]
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