By David Jones
(Reuters) - Miami Marlins batting coach Tino Martinez resigned on Sunday afternoon amid claims he was abusive to several players, according to the Miami Herald and MLB.com.
Martinez, a first-year coach and retired first baseman for the New York Yankees and Seattle Mariners, handed in his resignation after the agent for rookie second baseman Derek Dietrich contacted the Marlins over an incident that reportedly took place several months back, the Herald said.
"We've accepted Tino Martinez's resignation as hitting coach, post game today," said Larry Beinfest, Marlin's president of baseball operations, according to a report on MLB.com.
The Marlins announced on Twitter on Sunday that it had named the team's field director John Pierson as interim batting coach.
Martinez confirmed there was an incident in May where he grabbed Dietrich's jersey while the two were in the batting cage, but claimed he never grabbed him by the neck, according to the MLB.com report. The player was recently demoted to the minor leagues.
Following a 3-2 victory over the Pirates at Marlins Park, Martinez issued a statement apologizing to the organization.
"First of all, I want to apologize to the Marlin's organization for my behavior," he said. "I want to state that I never physically grabbed anyone by the neck. That never happened. I have made some comments to some players at certain times that I thought was more constructive criticism on certain occasions. Obviously, they didn't feel that way, and it kind of backfired on me."
Martinez as a player was a key part of the New York Yankees World Series championships in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000 and was an all-star twice during his 16-year career.
Representatives of the Marlins, the Major League Baseball Players Association and Commissioner Bud Selig's office were not immediately available for comment.
(Reporting by David Jones; Editing by Nick Carey and Mary Wisniewski)