The Rays placed the infielder on the 15-day disabled list in a series of moves Monday. Tampa Bay also recalled left-hander David Price from Triple-A Durham to start Monday night in the opener of a four-game series against the Indians in Cleveland, placed lefty Brian Shouse on the 15-day DL with a strained left elbow, transferred outfielder Fernando Perez to the 60-day DL and called up lefty Randy Choate from Durham.
Manager Joe Maddon expressed sympathy for Iwamura.
"You feel for him," said Maddon, who received a three-year contract extension earlier Monday. "The rehab process is going to be difficult. We're going to miss him. He was probably playing as well as I've seen him overall."
Maddon didn't dwell on the injury and hoped Price could give the Rays a lift.
"I know we're all eager to get him out there," Maddon said. "He's a big part of our future."
The No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 draft out of Vanderbilt, Price was dominant at three minor league levels in 2008, going 12-1 with a 2.30 ERA before being called up Sept. 13. He posted a 1.93 ERA in five outings -- with one start -- and excelled in the postseason for the Rays.
Price did not give up a hit over 2 1/3 innings in the AL Championship Series against Boston, including 1 1/3 innings in a Game 7 win. He finished with a 1.59 ERA in five postseason outings.
The 23-year-old left-hander started in place of Scott Kazmir, who went on the 15-day disabled list Friday with a strained right quad muscle.
Price was 1-4 with a 3.93 ERA in eight starts at Durham. He was in the minors because the Rays wanted to limit his workload this year.
"I don't like to attach a lot of expectations in a sense where he feels he has to carry us," Maddon said. "I would much prefer him going out there and being David Price."
Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said on a conference call that Iwamura will have surgery, likely in two or three weeks after swelling in the infielder's knee subsides.
Iwamura was injured trying to turn a double play in the eighth inning Sunday against the Florida Marlins and was carted off the field.
"They need to give it some time to stabilize," Friedman said. "It's a tough loss. Aki brings a lot to the team offensively, defensively and off the field.
All three of those players started Monday. Aybar was at second base, Brignac at shortstop and Zobrist in right field.
Iwamura is in his third season with the Rays after playing in Japan's Central League. In 44 games this year, he hit .310 (48-for-155) with no home runs, 16 RBIs and eight stolen bases in nine attempts.
With runners at first and second and one out in the eighth inning, Florida's Wes Helms hit a one-hopper to Rays pitcher Dan Wheeler, who threw to second. Iwamura took the throw for a forceout, and was ready to relay to first with his left foot planted when Chris Coghlan slid into him.
Iwamura pounded the grass in pain as teammates gathered around him, but after several minutes he sat up. Several Marlins also gathered around the second baseman, including Coghlan, who told Iwamura he was sorry.