Matt Tuiasosopo, Samoan, affectionately called Big Squiggles by Bless You Boys, an online community devoted to all things Detroit Tigers baseball, made his first start with the Tigers today versus the New York Yankees in Motown. Tuiasosopo, signed to a minor-league contract in November, played well enough in spring training to earn a spot on the 25-man roster that the Tigers took north for the start of the 2013 MLB season.
The big utility player, who can play third, first and left field, as he is today for the Tigers, was orignally signed by the Mariners in 2008, for whom he played a smattering of big league games through 2010.
If his name sounds familiar, and we mean Tuiasosopo, not Big Squiggles, well, it should. His family, Samoan, has a long and proud athletic tradition. Both of his brothers, Marques and Zach starred for the University of Washington Huskies football team. His father, Manu, is a former defensive lineman who played at UCLA and then the NFL's 49ers. But it's perhaps Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, a cousin, that you may know best: He is the perpetrator of the Manti Te'o girlfriend hoax.
Regardless, the Tigers love Matt's talent, particularly his bat, and he's only 26. So far today he's 2-2 with a walk versus the Yanks through five innings. That's no hoax.