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Aki kept self in game, Cantu embracing first



Rays manager Joe Maddon knew there was something wrong with 3B Akinori Iwamura after his fifth-inning double Monday night, but Iwamura insisted on staying in the game, playing the remainder of the game with a strained right oblique.

"He wasn't comfortable but he really wasn't fessing up either," Maddon said. "After his last at bat you could see that the swings were really not that good. When he came off the field I was going to take him out, but he insisted that he could play defense."

Now, the Rays could lose Iwamura, arguably their best player of the season's first three weeks, for the next four to six weeks, Maddon said. He will rehab and  receive treatment at the Rays minor league complex in St. Pete.

Meanwhile, the Rays recalled Jorge Cantu, who left St. Petersburg in a huff when he didn't make the opening day roster. Maddon said all is fine, especially considering the reports he got from the orgnization's minor-league scouts, who said that Cantu was swinging the bat well and welcomed a move to first base, where he has played seven games and where he will likely see the most time in the field when not DHing.

Cantu, who had a 5 p.m. flight out of Durham, wasn't in the clubhouse by the beginning of Tuesday's game. He should see significant time in the Rays lineup at first against left-handed pitching, but the Rays face a pair of right-handers in Anaheim (John Lackey and Bartolo Colon) and two righties ithe first two days in Oakland (Chad Gaudin and Dan Haren).

[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:31am]


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