HOUSTON— Houston Astro Roy Oswalt spent the weekend using heavy machinery to help his family clean up the mess after a tornado destroyed their Mississippi home, according to a family friend.
Oswalt grew up in Weir, Miss., where his parents still live. A tornado moved across at least three Mississippi counties Saturday, killing two people, injuring several others and ripping the tops off of buildings.
"Total devastation; everything is gone," said Oswalt family friend Deniece Pullen.
Pullen is the manager of Homeplate Steak and Fish in Weir—a restaurant Oswalt owns. She said she has been in touch with his family.
"Roy’s mother and her little yorkie dog, they were there by themselves and they survived," Pullen said. "It’s a miracle they’re alive."
Pullen said the baseball star’s mother hid in a closest in the middle of the house. A wall and a portion of a bathroom were the only parts of the home left standing after the storm.
In an interview with a TV station in Mississippi, Oswalt’s mother, Jean, described what it was like after the tornado passed.
"All I had was my little dog and when I got up I looked over there next to me and the Bible that was in the front room was laying next to me," Jean Oswalt said. "And I knew right then that the good Lord had taken care of me."
Two children were killed by the tornado about a mile from the Oswalt home.
Pullen said Oswalt, who is known for his hands-on work off the field, was working hard in the disaster zone Sunday.
"He’s just up there doing everything he can and working to help his father and his family get things cleaned up so they can go forward," said Pullen.
Astros general manager Ed Wade said he expects Oswalt to rejoin the team by Tuesday. Oswalt is scheduled to make his next start on Thursday.
Wade said Astros owner Drayton McLane offered his private plane for Oswalt to use, but Oswalt decided to make the eight-hour drive home instead.
"He just wants to make sure everything is all right," Wade said. "I told him to do whatever he needed to do. They lived in the house for over 40 years. He’s got a ranch that’s about 30 minutes away (in Kosciusko) that his parents can stay at, but 40 years worth of keepsakes and things like that, I’m sure it’s really tough on his family."
Oswalt pitched seven innings in Houston’s 4-3 win over Pittsburgh on Friday night. Houston manager Brad Mills met with Oswalt before he left.
"There are other things we need to get taken care of," Mills said. "He just pitched last night. That was an easy one. You’ve got to go. We always want them (players) to get things taken care of that they need to take care of. Because he’s not going to be used again for another four, five days, that wasn’t even a question."