Ryota Igarashi says family safe

Updated: March 11, 2011, 5:47 PM ET
By Adam Rubin | ESPNNewYork.com

New York Mets relief pitcher Ryota Igarashi's family is safe after the devastating earthquake and tsunami that ravaged Japan. Igarashi finally was able to get word of his family's situation on Friday afternoon.

Igarashi received a 2:30 a.m. ET call from interpreter Mike Peters informing him of the massive magnitude-8.9 earthquake in the right-hander's native country.

Igarashi's wife, Orie; daughter, Kotone; and son, Haruki, are with him in Port St. Lucie. Many of his closest relatives live in Chiba prefecture, about 200 miles south of where the earthquake took place. Relatives on his mother's side are in Hokkaido prefecture, north of the earthquake zone and on a separate island.

"All the lines are shut down. You cannot get through, so there's no way to get in touch directly with family," Igarashi told Peters earlier in the day. "But the likelihood they are OK is very high based on where they live. Most of the family lives in Chiba prefecture ... There were tremors there, up to about 5.0 where Chiba prefecture is located. My mother is from Hokkaido prefecture, but most likely everyone up there is fine as well."

Igarashi said he has been tuned to CNN since the early morning hours, plus watching Japanese video streams on the Internet.

"It's pretty obvious from watching the imagery on the television screen of what's going on, but to get the details of the tremors in certain areas and the damage I went to the Japanese live stream to find out," said Igarashi, whose English is limited but vastly improved since his arrival in the United States a year ago.

Igarashi appeared in 34 games for the Mets last season, going 1-1 with a 7.12 ERA. The 31-year-old is a non-roster invitee to camp and is in the second year of a two-year deal with the Mets.

Adam Rubin covers the Mets for ESPNNewYork.com.

Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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