If nothing else, the following story suggests that Mike Rice might want to consider a transition to a sport besides professional baseball. Somewhat overshadowing the pitching performance of Jose Fernandez versus Pittsburgh earlier today were a series of accusations leveled at Marlins hitting coach Tino Martinez, charged with verbally abusing his young charges. Following the 3-2 defeat of the Pirates, Martinez’ resignation was covered by the Miami Herald’s Clark Spencer :
Martinez acknowledged that he grabbed rookie second baseman Derek Dietrich by the front of his jersey in early May and “overreacted” and “probably” swore with others in trying to be firm with some of the Marlins’ younger players.
“I want to apologize to the Marlins organization for my behavior,” said Martinez, 45. “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.”
“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.”
Sources, though, said Martinez — who was owner Jeffrey Loria’s personal pick to take over as hitting coach — displayed a pattern of abusive behavior from the start of spring training and made numerous threats.
“It’s all shocked everybody,” said one player, who asked not to be identified for fear of retribution. “He uses intimidation. It’s been a problem since Day One.”
At the time of Martinez’ departure, the Marlins were dead last in the NL in runs scored (325 in 102 games) and ranked 15th in team batting average (.233) and OPS (.629).