Iwamura out for remainder of season

Iwamura out for remainder of season

CLEVELAND -- Tampa Bay second baseman Akinori Iwamura will miss the rest of the season after injuring his left knee in Sunday's 5-4 loss to Florida.

Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman made the announcement prior to Monday night's game against the Indians.

Iwamura has a torn anterior cruciate ligament, which will require surgery that most likely will occur in two to three weeks. He also has damage to his medial collateral ligament and ligament damage in his ankle, but those injuries will not require surgery.

"You feel for him," manager Joe Maddon said. "He was probably playing as well as I've seen him in his overall game. Offense, defense, coupled with his baserunning. Everything has gotten better. He was playing at a very high level."

Iwamura was injured while being barreled into by the Marlins' Chris Coghlan in a play at second base in the eighth inning. Iwamura was taking a throw from pitcher Dan Wheeler and had his foot planted on the bag when Coghlan slid into him. He was taken off the field on a cart and was on crutches following the game. Imawura was driven to St. Petersburg on Sunday and an MRI on Monday revealed the damage.

"It's a tough loss," Friedman said. "Aki brings a lot to our team offensively, defensively and off the field."

Iwamura was batting .310 with 16 RBIs and eight stolen bases in 44 games. He hit .274 with six homers, 48 RBIs and eight stolen bases last season.

It's thought that Iwamura will be ready for Spring Training next season, but it's unclear whether he will be in a Rays uniform. Iwamura, who was signed as a free agent on Dec. 15, 2006, out of Japan, is in the final year of his contract, making $3.25 million. The team holds a club option for '10 at $4.25 million, but it's uncertain whether the Rays will pick it up.

"The rehab process is going to be difficult," Maddon said. "Of course, guys come back as good as new, but it's still a lot of work."

Willy Aybar started at second base Monday night, and Ben Zobrist and Reid Brignac will also see action at second. Brignac is one of the Rays' top prospects and could be ready to be the everyday second baseman next season.

Steve Herrick is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.