UPDATE, 4:07 p.m. ET: Well that didn’t take long. Spencer reports that Martinez has resigned from the Marlins.
You can understand how a hitting coach might be upset with a team that has registered a collective .233/.292/.337 batting line. But this is — at any level of baseball — taking it too far:
Marlins hitting coach Tino Martinez was poised to resign after a player notified the team Martinez erupted in anger unjustly and grabbed him by his neck and neck chain, according to multiple sources.
But sources said team owner Jeffrey Loria, who made the decision to hire Martinez, nixed the idea, at least for now.
That story comes from the Miami Herald‘s Clark Spencer, who has identified the victim in that particular incident as second baseman Derek Dietrich. Spencer heard from an unnamed Marlins player that Martinez has also been either physically or verbally abusive this year to outfielder Justin Ruggiano, veteran infielder Chris Valaika and minor-league infielder Matt Downs.
Martinez, 45, had never coached at the MLB level prior to this year. He was a hand-picked hire by Loria.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.
According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.
Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.
Veteran Omar Infante has spent the overwhelming majority of his career as an infielder, but the Tigers plan to give him some playing time in center field this spring. The Tigers’ center field situation is still murky and adding more versatility would increase Infante’s odds of making the roster.
Infante, 35, signed a minor league deal with the Tigers in December. He played 39 games for the Royals last season, batting .239/.279/.321 in 149 plate appearances while playing second base exclusively. Infante last played in the outfield in 2010 with the Braves, and last played center field specifically in ’09 with the Braves.
The Tigers currently have Mikie Mahtook, Tyler Collins, and JaCoby Jones at the top of their center field depth chart. It is not what one would call “optimal.”