10/01/09 8:26 PM ET
Tuiasosopo's family OK after tsunami
Several of player's relatives live in American Samoa
By Jim Street / MLB.com
He has several relatives living in Avatia, a small village in American Samoa.
"We have been in touch with my grandpa and their village came through OK," Tuiasosopo said of the tsunami that inundated the South Pacific Island.
The Associated Press reported that victims "are everywhere" in a hospital near a hard-hit area and the dead could number up to 120. The Samoan government has not yet confirmed fatalities, but officials in American Samoa say at least 14 people have been killed.
"We have a lot of relatives over there, but we think they're all OK," Tuiasosopo said. "Besides talking to my grandpa, we got an e-mail from a family member on my grandma's side. I have never been there, but my sister told me the village is protected by a little cove. It's a good thing."
The tsunami was triggered by a massive 8.0 magnitude earthquake in the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday morning. Four waves measuring 10 to 15 feet high barreled into the island, reaching up to a mile inland.
"When I first heard about it, I couldn't believe the magnitude of the earthquake," Tuiasosopo said. "My dad [Manu] told me that if there was a tsunami, we should keep everyone in our prayers."
Avitia is located northwest of Pago Pago, the capital city of American Samoa.
Both sets of Tuiasosopo's grandparents were born in American Samoa, and his father is one of the most famous athletes from the island. He played college football at UCLA and professionally for the Seahawks and 49ers.
"Whenever I'm home, I'm on the Internet reading the stories and looking at pictures of the destruction," Matt said. "Some of the villages are completely wiped out. It definitely hits home."
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.