MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Tino Martinez’s last job with the Miami Marlins ended with the hitting coach being accused of mistreating players. But, Martinez said Thursday it wasn’t an issue of mistreatment, but of trying to toughen up “soft” players.
Martinez spoke to WFAN in New York about the incident that led to his dismissal from the team. Last season, while serving as the Marlins’ hitting coach, a player told the team that Martinez got angry and grabbed him by the neck and neck chain.
It was later reported by the Miami Herald that Derek Dietrich was one of the players who complained about the treatment by Martinez. Other players allegedly said Martinez had profanity-laced eruptions and attacked player verbally.
Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria hired Martinez and stuck by him as long as possible, but Martinez eventually resigned.
WFAN asked Martinez if he had any bitterness about what transpired in Miami last year.
“I wouldn’t say bitterness, it turned out to be a bad situation at the end there. I wasn’t bitter, I was doing my job the best I could do it,” Martinez said. “I was tough on some of the young players I thought needed to be not disciplined, but they were walking around like they were 10-year veterans and I was trying to teach them the right way to do things.”
Martinez continued, “In the end, I can’t say I was bitter, but maybe disappointed because I love coaching and was really enjoying that a lot.”
Martinez was asked by the hosts of the Benigno and Roberts the players were losing the edge that many big league players used to have and was that a reflection about today’s society.
“I was trying to teach these guys,” Martinez said. “These guys had a great opportunity. They didn’t belong in the big leagues. They just happened to be with the right organization that had injuries and got rid of the whole entire team the year before.”
He continued, “It bothered me that they weren’t working hard enough and weren’t appreciating what they had. I was just trying to get them to understand, take advantage of this and make yourself a better player. They were very soft. They were very soft and that was the disappointing part, but I thought I was doing my job to coach and get the most out of them.”
Martinez didn’t take another job after the Marlins incident and said he planned to take this year off from baseball but does eventually hope to get back into the game as a coach.
Last year, the Marlins finished the season with the worst batting average in the National League, some 20 points behind the league average of .251.
The Marlins averaged .230 at the plate in the four months of the regular season with Martinez as the team’s hitting coach. Martinez was fired at the end of July. The Marlins hit .221 in August and .242 in September, averaging .232 after Martinez left.
Martinez played in the Majors for 16 seasons and finished with a .271 career average, 339 home runs, and 1,271 RBI’s. He never hit below .250 in a season that he played in at least 90 games until his final season at age 37 in New York.