Ex-Yankee Martinez starts new role as team's special  instructor

Updated: February 6, 2008, 4:03 PM ET
Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. -- Tino Martinez played on four World Series championship teams with the New York Yankees. Now the former first baseman is back as a special instructor.

Tino Martinez


Martinez joined the Yankees on Wednesday at the team's minor league complex, working one-on-one with outfielder/first baseman Shelley Duncan, who is competing for playing time this season.

It was the first time since 2005, when he played for the Yankees, that Martinez has taken part in on-field drills with the team.

"It's awesome," Martinez said. "I really enjoy this, the opportunity to come out and coach and help these guys get better, especially the young guys."

Martinez will be involved with the team throughout the season, and is also starting his second year as a volunteer assistant coach at South Florida, where his brother-in-law Lelo Prado is the coach. He hasn't ruled out coaching or managing full-time in the future.

"Probably, eventually, down the line," Martinez said. "I didn't know how much I would enjoy coaching in college last year, and I really enjoyed it. Right now, I'm just very content with the role I have."

Martinez said Duncan made a good impression.

"He's got soft hands," Martinez said. "He's a tall, lanky guy who is a great target at first base."

Martinez stood behind the batting cage, without a bat, when Duncan, catcher Jorge Posada and shortstop Derek Jeter took batting practice.

"I'm used to coming in here geared up for spring training, trying to find my swing," Martinez said. "It's nice to come out here and really enjoy the part of being a coach and helping the players get better, and not worrying so much about what I have to do to get ready for spring training."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press