Manti Te’o Catfisher’s Cousin Getting Opportunity With Detroit Tigers in Spring Training

By Chris Katje
Jason O. Watson-USA TODAY Sports

With Miguel Cabrera away at the World Baseball Classic, the Detroit Tigers will give several players a chance to play at third base. As I reported earlier today, Nick Castellanos will not be getting playing time at third base. One of the players that will see action for the Tigers has a connection to the Manti Te’o hoax.

Matt Tuiasosopo’s cousin created the famous Manti Te’o hoax that has had the sports world talking. While his cousin was busy pretending to be someone else, Matt has been trying to get back to the major leagues in baseball.

Matt Tuiasosopo, cousin of Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, signed a minor league contract with the Tigers on December 6th. The 26 year old already has MLB experience, playing three separate seasons with the Seattle Mariners. In his three professional seasons, Tuiasosopo played in 71 games, hitting five home runs and 15 RBIs. However, Tuiasosopo failed to stick with the big club and has a career MLB batting average of .176.

Tuiasosopo will be given an opportunity at third base during Cabrera’s departure, according to team manager Jim Leyland. However, Matt will need to produce better offensive numbers to get a better look from the team. Tuiasosopo is hitless in eight at-bats during his four Spring Training games.

The signing of Tuiasosopo did bring versatility to the Tigers organization as he can play third base, outfield, shortstop, first base and second base, all positions he played for the Mariners. If Tuiasosopo can’t stick with the Tigers, he will play in the minor leagues where he has much more success in his career.

Tuiasosopo is a career .260 hitter in the minor leagues. In 2012, he played for Buffalo in Triple-A as a member of the New York Mets organization. In Buffalo, Matt played in 131 games and hit .242 with an on-base percentage of .329. Tuiasosopo also hit 12 home runs, posted 57 RBIs and 47 runs.

Before choosing to play baseball, Tuiasosopo was a high school football star like his cousin Ronaiah. After signing a letter of intent to play football at the University of Washington, Matt chose baseball instead. The Mariners drafted Matt in the third round of the 2004 MLB Draft.

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