Tino Martinez ready for Bulls gig, may put ESPN job aside

First it was Wade Boggs sitting on the sideline at Red McEwen Field. Then there was Fred McGriff in the press box, giving everyone his two cents. Now another former major leaguer is involved with USF baseball.

Former Devil Ray and long-time Yankee Tino Martinez, Lelo Prado’s brother-in-law, will join the coaching staff as a volunteer assistant.

“Lelo is right,” Martinez said. “There is no reason this shouldn’t be a top team in the country – a powerhouse in the league. They should be going to the regionals, super regionals, (the College) World Series with the talent around here.”

Martinez, who retired before the start of this MLB season, signed a one-year part-time contract with ESPN and has appeared on Baseball Tonight. But with his new gig in a Bulls jersey, Martinez is in the process of reevaluating his priorities.

“I’m going to have to see what happens (with ESPN),” Martinez said. “I’ll have to make a decision after this year and I want to be able to dedicate myself to this team. I want to take more time to (coach).”

But others close to the coaching staff, who plan on attending every home game, are looking to be all smiles in the stands.

“It’s going to be a blast,” said Pam Prado, Martinez’s sister. “The boys and I were saying, ‘Boy, is it going to be funny to see Tino in a Bulls’ uniform.”

Prado had a different way of looking at hooking his brother-in-law as an assistant.

“I got (Tino) to come on once I took my sister away from him,” Prado joked. “Tino doesn’t want to be a head coach; he just wants to help kids. But I also said to him (that) I need him, (and) let’s get this thing done.”

Athletic Director Doug Woolard said bringing in Martinez was Prado’s idea. Martinez, on the other hand, does not see himself as a token name to throw at boosters or recruits.

“I see myself doing a little bit of everything,” Martinez said. “Helping out with hitters, with fielding – whatever needs to be done. I’m going to be hands-on. I’m not going to be there as a figurehead. I’m here to coach.”