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Marlins hitting coach Tino Martinez resigns amid allegations of abusive behavior

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

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Tino Martinez (right) along with first base coach Perry Hill. (USA Today)

According to a report from the Miami Herald's Clark Spencer, Miami Marlins hitting coach Tino Martinez has resigned amid allegations of a physical altercation with rookie second baseman Derek Dietrich during a batting session earlier in the season.

In the alleged incident, Martinez was said to have grabbed Dietrich by the neck and the neck chain in a fit of unjust anger. Dietrich elected to not report the incident until his demotion to the minor leagues last week, but once Marlins officials were notified it's being reported that Martinez immediately offered his resignation. A source also tells Spencer that team owner Jeffrey Loria stepped in and told Martinez that wouldn't be necessary at that time, but once the allegations were made public on Sunday, Martinez officially stepped down.

Here's more on the alleged incidents from Spencer's report:

Dietrich’s agent, David Meter, would neither confirm nor deny that the incident took place.

“I’d rather not address it,” Meter said. “I think it’s a team issue.”

A team official refused to say whether the club is looking into the matter.

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

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.

In addition to the physical allegation, it's also being reported that Martinez has flown off the handle verbally, launching into profanity-laced against several Marlins hitters.

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.

As if the Miami Marlins needed anymore negative publicity, they sure have it here.

Of course there's still a lot information that has to come out, but there was obviously a lot of smoke. The fact that Martinez was willing to step down so quickly might be telling in itself, and if everything alleged is true, this would be a very disappointing exit for a player turned coach who always came across as soft spoken while maintaining a nice guy reputation for 16 major league seasons.

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