Rays third baseman Iwamura might return to lineup Monday

Updated: May 23, 2007, 6:56 PM ET
Associated Press

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Devil Rays third baseman Akinori Iwamura could return from a right oblique strain on Monday.

Akinori Iwamura


Third Base
Tampa Bay Devil Rays


2007 Season Stats
18 1 5 15 .479 .339

The former Japanese League star was placed on the 15-day disabled list April 24. The Devil Rays' biggest offseason acquisition was injured swinging the bat on a fifth-inning double one day earlier.

Iwamura was hitting .339 with one homer, five RBIs and 15 runs scored in 18 games. He played in his second extended spring training game Wednesday.

"He's doing very well," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "He hasn't felt any pulling sensation in his side."

A final decision is not expected until this weekend.

A six-time Gold Glove third baseman in Japan, Iwamura agreed to a $7.7 million, three-year contract in December. The Devil Rays paid a posting fee of $4.55 million, hiking their investment in the former Yakult Swallows star to $12.25 million.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press