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Tampa Bay Rays Akinori Iwamura out for season with ACL tear; Shouse on DL

UPDATE, 3:30: Tampa Bay Rays 2B Akinori Iwamura is out for the season. He has a torn ACL and damage to the MCL as well, plus torn ligaments in his ankle.

The ACL will require surgery in the next several weeks and then a six-month recovery; the other injuries likely will not require surgery.

"It's a tough loss, obviously,'' Tampa Bay Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman said. "Aki brings a lot to our team offensively, defensively and off the field. But this group has demonstrated how resilient they are last year and the beginning part of this year and I expect that we'll do more of the same here."

Also, LHP Brian Shouse is on the DL with a left elbow strain, though the Rays "don't think it's anything" significant.Shouse will undergo an MRI on Tuesday.  LHP Randy Choate has been called up, and OF Fernando Perez moved to the 60-day DL to make room for Choate to be added to the 40-man roster.

Akinori Iwamura was injured Sunday when Florida's Chris Coghlan, a rookie from Tarpon Springs' East Lake High, slid hard into him on an eighth-inning play at second base. Iwamura, 30, was hitting .310 with 16 RBIs and a .377 on-base percentage and playing excellent defense, and his absence will be significant.

"We're going to miss him greatly even if it's just one day,'' 1B Carlos Pena said. "You can't replace Aki. He's Aki. There's only one of him around.''

The Rays are planning to use Willy Aybar (who started Monday), Ben Zobrist and Reid Brignac in his place.

Shouse said the elbow started bothering him during the series against the Indians at the Trop May 14-17, but he thought they had it handled until his last outing on Sunday. Friedman said Shouse was fine after the game but felt discomfort by the time the Rays got to Cleveland.

Shouse said he felt stiffness, and "throbbing" and that it moved to a different area on the arm, which caught his attention.

NEWS: The Tampa Bay Rays will know more about the condition of 2B Akinori Iwamura later this afternoon, and may have another player - we're not sure who yet - going on the DL today as well, executive VP Andrew Friedman just said.

Friedman said it wasn't an infielder, so that would eliminate SS Jason Bartlett, who sprained his left ankle Sunday. Reliever Joe Nelson was hobbling a bit after trying to field an infield grounder, but he just said in the Cleveland clubhouse that he was fine and is not going on the DL.

"We may have another roster move,'' Friedman said. "We're still waiting to get feedback from doctors and other things.''

LHP David Price has to be added to the roster to start tonight, and he is likely to take Iwamura's place.

Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus speculates in his latest column that Iwamura's injury is serious and potentially season ending: "It's clear that there are some torn ligaments, likely the ACL, and if that's the case Iwamura is done for the year.''

Carroll also writes that Iwamura "should be fine in the long term as far as his career but ... I'll be stunned if it's not a season-ender that has Iwamura heading off for surgery.'' 

[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:47am]


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