Tino Martinez is still calling Marlins players “soft” eight months after resigning as hitting coach

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Tino Martinez resigned as the Marlins’ hitting coach in the middle of last season amid allegations that he was physically and verbally abusive to players, later giving his side of the story that painted him in a much more sympathetic light as an authority figure simply trying to get young players to listen.

Eight months later Martinez is still talking about the situation, saying the following today during an interview with WFAN radio in New York:

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. I was trying to teach these guys. 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.

They were not taking advantage of their opportunity and it was bothering 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 as a coach to try and get the most out of them.

Of course, as Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun Sentinel points out, Martinez’s fellow coaches also had an issue with how he behaved as hitting coach. It wasn’t just the players and, beyond that, calling them “soft” doesn’t necessarily excuse his behavior either. When you take the job as a hitting coach for an extremely young, inexperienced, rebuilding team a big part of that job is finding a way to get through to those players. Regardless of whether he was in the right or in the wrong, Martinez definitely failed at that.

Steven Matz likely to start season on DL; Zack Wheeler to adhere to innings limit

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Mets manager Terry Collins said on Wednesday, “It’s unlikely that [Steven Matz] will start the season with us.” The final spot in the Mets’ starting rotation will go to either Zack Wheeler or Seth Lugo, Newsday’s Marc Carig reports.

On Wheeler’s innings limit, assistant GM John Ricco said, “There’s going to be some number but we don’t exactly know what that is.” Wheeler missed the last two seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Neither Wheeler nor Lugo have had terrific springs as each carries a 5.11 and 5.56 Grapefruit League ERA, respectively. However, Carig notes that Wheeler has impressed simply by appearing healthy and brandishing a fastball that once again sits in the mid- to high-90’s. Lugo, meanwhile, proved crucial to the Mets last year, posting a 2.67 ERA across eight starts and nine relief appearances.

Rockies sign 30-year lease to stay in Coors Field

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Nick Groke of the Denver Post reports that the Rockies agreed to a $200 million, 30-year lease with the Metropolitan Baseball Stadium District, which is the state division that owns Coors Field. As part of the deal, the Rockies will lease and develop a plot of land south of the stadium, which will cost the team $125 million for 99 years.

As Groke points out, had the Rockies not reached a deal by Thursday, March 30, the lease would have rolled over for five more years.

Rockies owner Dick Monfort issued a statement, saying, “We are proud that Coors Field will continue to be a vital part of a vibrant city, drawing fans from near and far and making our Colorado residents proud.”

The Rockies moved into Coors Field in 1995. It is the National League’s third oldest stadium. In that span of time, the Rockies have made the playoffs three times, the last coming in 2009 when they lost in the NLDS to the Phillies. The Rockies were swept in the 2007 World Series by the Red Sox.