BOSTON — Former Ray Aki Iwamura was watching Monday's Rays-Red Sox game in his native, and now devastated, Japan and was touched by comments manager Joe Maddon made on the NHK broadcast about him and his well-being.
So much so that he called his agent's representative and asked him to thank Maddon for his comments and to relay word to the Rays and the Tampa Bay fans that he and his family are safe, and he is working to help people in the Sendai area, which was severely damaged by the earthquake and tsunami.
Iwamura and his Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles teammates were not affected when the disaster struck. They were out of town for preseason training. Iwamura, who played for the Rays 2007-09, toured the Sendai area over the weekend and was shocked by the destruction, according to Yaoshi Hasegawa, a representative of agent Alan Nero.
"His motivation this season is to support people in the Tohoku area," Hasegawa said. "He really, really appreciates Joe's friendship and Joe's comments actually even encouraged him. Aki wants to thank Joe for caring about him. And he wishes them luck for this season."