Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Akinori Iwamura out for season with torn left ACL

Rays second baseman Akinori Iwamura, lifted onto a cart Sunday, will need six months to recover from his torn ACL.

Associated Press

Rays second baseman Akinori Iwamura, lifted onto a cart Sunday, will need six months to recover from his torn ACL.

The Rays feel comfortable having Willy Aybar, Reid Brignac and Ben Zobrist available to play second base. But they can only hope one, or all, can effectively replace Akinori Iwamura, who will miss the rest of the season as a result of the left knee injury sustained Sunday.

Iwamura has a torn anterior cruciate ligament, requiring surgery and a six-month recovery, plus damage to the medial collateral ligament and torn ankle ligaments that will need time to heal.

"A tough loss, obviously," executive vice president Andrew Friedman said. "Huge," third baseman Evan Longoria said.

"We're going to miss him," manager Joe Maddon said. "He was probably playing as well as I've seen him. I mean overall game — offense, defense, his comfort with us, his baserunning — everything has gotten better. He was playing at a very high level."

Although the Rays have depth, they don't have experience: None of the three replacements is a natural second baseman. Aybar made his 19th big-league start there Monday, Zobrist has made eight, and Brignac began playing there in spring training.

Maddon said he plans to use all three, but shortstop Jason Bartlett, noting how he and Iwamura had grown to "become one" on the field, said a platoon system could be challenging.

"That's going to be tough, not just for myself but for the pitchers as well, knowing the guy," Bartlett said. "Whoever is out there we have to make do, do our best. … I'm sure Joe will play the hot hand, and hopefully one of the guys will step up and take control of the position."

The Rays showed a resiliency last season when several of their key players — including Carl Crawford and Longoria — were injured, and they are hoping to tap into that again.

"Whoever fills that role is going to have to step up, and the guys who have been playing every day are going to have to play a little better or figure out a way to do something more to help the ballclub," Longoria said. "The challenge is there; we just can't start to put too much pressure on ourselves right now. We just have to try to think back to last year and what we did, and go on from there."

Florida's Chris Coghlan, the East Lake High product who caused the injury when he slid in hard with his body as Iwamura tried to turn a double play started by pitcher Dan Wheeler, maintained that he wasn't trying to hurt Iwamura and that he didn't do anything "illegal."

"I just went in and unfortunately hit him in a bad spot," Coghlan told the Sun-Sentinel. "He was caught in an awkward situation with the ball coming from the pitcher. He caught it in front of the bag and took a short step toward me, which made me get on him a little quicker than he was probably expecting. I slid hard and unfortunately that happened. You never want that to happen. I told him I'd be praying for him. I wish him as soon a recovery as he can have."

Iwamura, 30, should be recovered by spring training, but he may not be back with the Rays. They hold a $4.85 million option for 2010 (with a $550,000 buyout), and if they decline it, Iwamura becomes a free agent.

Times staff writer Joe Smith contributed to this report. Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected]

Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Akinori Iwamura out for season with torn left ACL 05/25/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 27, 2009 11:55am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lightning edges Red Wings on road

    Lightning Strikes

    DETROIT — The digs were different, the Lightning seeing the masterfully-done new Little Caesar's Arena for the first time.

    Lightning center/Red Wings’ killer Tyler Johnson gets past defenseman Trevor Daley on his way to the first goal of the game.
  2. Armwood pulls away to defeat Plant 27-7, remain undefeated


    SEFFNER — First-year Armwood coach Evan Davis pulled out all the stops to get his team psyched for Monday's annual grudge match against Plant.

    Armwood defensive end Malcolm Lamar (97) gets fired up before the start of the game between Plant High School Panthers and the Armwood High School Hawks in Suffer, Fla. on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017.
  3. Bucs journal: Dirk Koetter says Vernon Hargreaves needs to improve


    TAMPA — The Bucs now rank 31st in the NFL in pass defense, allowing 301 yards per game in their 2-3 start, and coach Dirk Koetter was asked Monday how concerned he is with the play of second-year CB Vernon Hargreaves.

    Ryan Fitzpatrick, throwing an incompletion under pressure after replacing injured Jameis Winston against the Cardinals,  would start this Sunday in Buffalo if Winston’s shoulder is still bothering him.
  4. Backhand shot makes Nikita Kucherov's offense even more dangerous

    Lightning Strikes

    DETROIT — Nikita Kucherov is on a historic streak, just the fourth player in the past 30 years to score a goal in each of his first six games.

    Nikita Kucherov’s backhand shot adds to his strong scoring.
  5. Rick Pitino officially fired by Louisville amid federal corruption probe


    In an expected move, the University of Louisville Athletic Association's Board of Directors on Monday voted unanimously to fire men's basketball coach Rick Pitino. The decision came 19 days after Louisville acknowledged that its men's basketball program was being investigated as part of a federal corruption probe and …

    In this Oct. 20, 2016, file photo, Louisville head basketball coach Rick Pitino reacts to a question during a press conference in Louisville, Ky. Louisville's Athletic Association on Monday officially fired Pitino, nearly three weeks after the school acknowledged that its men's basketball program is being investigated as part of a federal corruption probe. [AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File]