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Boston pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka tried to get in touch with his grandmother. Oakland slugger Hideki Matsui prayed for the victims. Mets reliever Ryota Igarashi stayed up all night to see the devastation.
All across spring training, Japanese ballplayers worried Friday about those at home. Hundreds of people were killed or missing after Japan was struck by its biggest recorded earthquake and a massive tsunami.
“It’s a tough situation,” Red Sox reliever Hideki Okajima said through a translator. “You can’t control nature, but when something like this happens, you really realize the power of nature.”
Matsuzaka said his parents in Tokyo were all right, but “I haven’t been able to get in touch with my grandmother,” he said.
At the Texas camp, pitcher Yoshinori Tateyama stood in front of a TV tuned to CNN. As he watched the pictures, he used his fingers to draw a map of Japan on a table, trying to show Rangers teammates Josh Hamilton and Mitch Moreland where the damage occurred.
Tateyama said he found out what happened in an e-mail from a friend after the morning workouts. “At that time I realized how big it was,” he said.
More than a dozen players from Japan played in the majors last season. Seattle star Ichiro Suzuki said he hadn’t been able to reach his family with so many cell phone towers down.