Former New York Yankee Tino Martinez resigned Sunday as the hitting coach of the Miami Marlins, after a confrontation with three Marlins players during practice drills. Martinez admitted to using vulgarity with the players and to grabbing one of them. He denied grabbing one of them by the neck, as claimed.
The three players involved were infielder Chris Valaika, outfielder Justin Ruggiano, and infielder Derek Dietrich, who was the one that was supposedly grabbed by the neck. Martinez apologized to the Marlins.
Martinez spoke by phone to FoxSports.com Monday night, pointing out that the disputes were an isolated instance. After discussing the matter with friends, he decided to speak out. The root of the entire matter came when the players didn’t follow his instructions by simply picking up some baseballs.
“I started thinking about it,” he explained, “thinking I’ve got to say something, not just let it go away. I’ve had a great reputation in this game for years. I walked away from the game with integrity. But now, to have a couple of kids try to ruin my name, I felt I had to say something and fight back.”
Apparently the players union believes there are other instances involving Martinez and has reportedly contacted the commissioner’s office about the them.
While vulgarity and physical contact are not proper, Martinez is a good man who is a victim of a circumstance. This unfortunate incident should not serve as a roadblock to him continuing his coaching career.
In fact, with the Yankees overall hitting woes this season, it would be interesting to see if the Yankees could invent a special consulting position for him, as additional support of course, not as a replacement hitting coach. Assuming, certainly, that he is cleared of any wrong-doing.
If not as a consultant, perhaps he could serve as a roving instructor in the minor leagues. It is unclear as to whether the Yankees would make such an offer or if he would accept a role like that. But it would be great to have Tino back in pinstripes.