Akinori Iwamura (pronounced Ah-kee-nor-ee Ee-wah-moo-rah)...Wife's name is Misaki...Has one son; Taiki (7/10/07)...Was born
in Uwajima, a small town (population approx. 70,000), located on the island of Shikoku - Japan's fourth-largest island located less than 100 miles
south of Hiroshima...His mother, Michiyo, was a hairdresser in his hometown and through her many customers he became familiar with Western
cultures (he homered twice on August 26, 2005, against the Yokahoma Bay Stars - the day his mother passed away)...His father is a retired firefighter.
...Was signed out of Uwajima High School...Played in the Philippines on the Japan National High school team...His nickname in Japan is "Gun" because
when "IWA-MURA" is written in Japanese characters, the one character for "IWA" could also be read as "GUN" or "GAN" (similar to having the nickname
Bill for William)...His older brother, Takashi, was an outfielder in the minor leagues (ni-gun) for the Kintetsu Buffaloes in 1997 and 1998...His fan
website is http://gun1.nifty.com...Uses an alligator skin glove.
Participated in the World Baseball Classic and
batted .286 with a triple and three RBI for Gold Medal-winning Japanese
team...Missed close to three months of the regular season after suffering a
partially torn ACL in a collision with Florida's Chris Coghlan while turning a
double play on 5/24...Hit safely in five of his first seven games (10-for-26,
.385)...Tied career high with three RBI on 4/13 vs. New York (AL)...Batted .295
(23-for-78) in 22 games during the month of April...Went 14-for-31 (.452)
with six multi-hit efforts in eight-game stretch from 5/16-24, raising average
from .274 to .310...Tied career high (fourth time) with three RBI on 5/18
vs. Oakland...Had three hits in the game he suffered his left knee injury on
5/24 at Florida...Was placed on the D.L. on 5/25 and underwent arthroscopic
surgery on his left knee on 6/22...Hit .303 (10-for-33) in 11 games with
Triple-A Durham while on a rehab assignment from 8/14-28...Was reinstated
from the D.L. on 8/29 and returned to the lineup that night at Detroit (went
1-for-2 with two walks)...Connected off Justin Verlander for lone home run on
8/30 at Detroit...Batted .242 (15-for-62) in 20 games during the month of September...Made 67 appearances (63 starts) at second base while playing
with the Rays...Made lone appearance at third base on 5/23 at Florida...Hit .386 against left-handed pitchers and .248 against righthanders...Was acquired
by Pittsburgh on 11/3.
Converted to second base full time after
spending the 2007 season as the Rays third
baseman, and was the only full-time Rays position
player to stay healthy all season...led the
team in hits (172), runs (91), at-bats (627), and
games played (152)...ranked 9th in the American
League in at-bats, 3rd in triples (9), 9th in
singles (127), and T-8th in strikeouts (137)...
batted leadoff in all 151 of his starts.
Prior to 2008, he played only one game at 2B,
the final game of 2007.
Spent the 2007-08 offseason in Japan working
on his second base skills with Yutaka Ohashi,
a seven-time Gold Glover at shortstop for the
Hankyu Braves (1972-78) and the infield coach
for the Yakult Swallows in Aki's rookie season.
Over the past 75 years, only one other player
has played at least 100 games at 3rd base as
a rookie and 100 or more games at 2nd base
the following year: Cubs Hall of Famer Ryne
Has 19 triples over the last 2 seasons, tied with
Carl Crawford for 2nd most in the AL behind
DET Curtis Granderson (36)...since 1950, only
3 AL players have collected more triples over
their first 2 major league seasons: SLB/CWS
Jim Rivera (25 in 1952-53), MIN Cristian Guzman
(23 in 1978-79) and MIL Paul Molitor (20 in
1978-79)...19 triples already rank 3rd in Rays
history behind Crawford and Randy Winn.
Despite learning a new position, began the
year with a 74-game errorless streak, the 6thlongest
streak by a 2B to begin a season since
1956...those who went longer were DET Placido
Polanco (141 games in 2007), BAL Rich
Dauer (86 in 1978), COL Luis Gonzalez (83 in
2005), KC Mark Grudzielanek (77 in 2006) and
MIN Chuck Knoblauch (75 in 1994)...the first
error came June 25 at FLA, his 75th game and
His 41 hits in May led the AL and set a Rays
record for the month...trailed only HOU Lance
Berkman in the majors...became the 5th different
Ray to reach 40 hits in a month...from
May 3-Aug 9, hit .308 (107-347) to raise his
avg. from .204 to .283.
Homered June 24 at FLA (Scott Olsen) for his
200th professional home run...the first 188
came in Japan.
Ranked 3rd in the majors in pitches seen behind
CLE Grady Sizemore and NYY Bobby
Abreu...saw more pitches in 2008 than any
player in Rays history.
Was the toughest in the majors to double up (2
GIDP in 627 AB) for the 2nd straight season...
in 2007 bounced into 2 DP in 491 AB.
132 | 2009 TAMPA BAY RAYS MEDIA GUIDE
40-MAN ROSTER | AKINORI IWAMURA
Set club records for a 2B in several offensive
categories (while actually playing the position):
games (152), at-bats (627), runs (91), hits (172),
doubles (30), triples (9), walks (70), strikeouts
(131) and on-base pct. (.349).
Scored a career-high 4 runs Sep 19 vs. MIN,
tying the team's season high (also Evan
Longoria, June 9 at LAA; Cliff Floyd Aug 8 at
OAK)...Aki's 91 runs scored tied for the 6thhighest
total in club history.
Rays went 56-17 when he scored a run, 14-0
when he scored 2 or more times.
Homered Sep 15 off BOS Daisuke Matsuzaka,
after a 66-game homerless streak (June 24 at
FLA)...it was his first HR against a Japanese
pitcher in the majors, and the 5th homer in major
league history by a player born in Japan off
a pitcher also born in Japan...the others: NYY
Hideki Matsui off LAD Hideo Nomo (2004),
SEA Ichiro off NYM Kazuhisa Ishii (2005), SEA
Kenji Johjima off NYY Kei Igawa (2007) and
Ichiro off CLE Masahide Kobayashi (2008).
Four of his 6 home runs came against Boston...
on April 26 at home, spoiled Clay Buchholz's
shutout bid with a go-ahead, 2-run
homer in the 8th, his first of the season, as the
Rays won 2-1...May 3 at Fenway, went opposite-
field off Josh Beckett to lead off the 8th...
June 3 at Fenway, led off the game with a HR
to LF off Justin Masterson...hit his 4th against
BOS Sep 15 off Dice-K at home...hit .319
(22-69) with a .551 slugging pct. in 17 games
against the Red Sox.
Had two leadoff home runs, coming May 15
vs. NYY off Ian Kennedy (Rays first leadoff HR
since June 23, 2007 off LAD Randy Wolf) and
June 3 at BOS (Masterson).
Drew 3 of the Rays 25 bases-loaded walks,
all of them coming against lefties...they came
July 13 at CLE (Jeremy Sowers), Aug 23 at
CWS (Matt Thornton) and Sep 14 at NYY
Led the club with 22 infield hits and 6 bunt
Drove in a season-high 3 runs Sep 24 at BAL
as the Rays won 11-6 and finished a 4-game
Was suspended 3 games for his role in the
benches-clearing brawl June 5 at BOS...
served his time June 28-30.
Twice compiled hitting streaks of 11 games:
May 2-13 (.392, 20-51) and June 22-July 7
Reached base in 24 straight games from April
His .975 fielding percentage (TC-283, E-7) was
tops among all major league third basemen in
2007 and ranked as the second highest ever by
a rookie third baseman behind Don Gutteridge's
.978 mark with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1937 ...
His .285 batting average was 5th among qualifying
Major League rookies and the 3rd highest by
a rookie in club history behind Rocco Baldelli's
.289 mark in 2003 and Delmon Young's .288
average in 2007 ...
His .359 on base pct. tied with Colorado's Troy
Tulowitzki for 3rd best among major league
rookies and was a Rays rookie record ... also set
Rays rookie marks with 10 triples and 58 walks ...
led all major league rookies in triples and was
2nd overall in the AL ... his walks trailed only Los
Angeles' Reggie Willits (69) among major league
Ranked 2nd among AL rookies with 82 runs
scored...his 40 multi-hit games were 3rd among
AL rookies and his 12 stolen bases and 202 total
bases pct were 4th ...
Started 122 games: 120 at 3B, one at DH and one --
the final game of the season -- at 2B ...
Batted .323 (50-155) vs. left-handed pitching, 3rd
best among left-handed hitters in the majors ...
He and Delmon Young combined for 326 hits ...
since World War II, only three sets of rookie
teammates had more hits: 357 Hanley Ramirez
(185), Dan Uggla (172), Fla, 2006; 349 Fred Lynn
(175), Jim Rice (174), Bos, 1975; 340 Rich Rollins
(186), Bernie Allen (154), Min, 1962 ...
Began the season hitting primarily in the 6th and
7th spots in the order, but moved to leadoff for
good on June 8 ...
Reached via hit or walk in all but 14 of his 122
Was the hardest to double up in the majors
among qualifying hitters (min 502 PAs) ...
grounded into only two double plays in 491 at-bats ...
Was 6-for-15 (.400) with 2 walks off fellow countryman
Daisuke Matsuzaka, tied with Tim Wakefield for his
most hits off one pitcher in 2007 ...
Began his major league career going 7-for-11 in
his first 3 games including a 4-hit effort in his
first game at Tropicana Field on Apr 6 ... hit his
first home run that game off Gustavo Chacin and
scored the winning run in the bottom of the 9th
inning as the Rays rallied from a 5-3 deficit to
beat Toronto ...
Hit safely in his first 9 games of the season and 11
of his first 12 ... was hitting .339, 9th in the AL and
tops among all major league rookies when he
suffered a right oblique strain after getting two
hits and scoring 3 runs in a win over the Yankees
on April 23 ... Missed the next 29 games before
returning May 28 ...
His .479 on-base pct. in April was 5th in the AL
and the 3rd best by a rookie (min 50 PAs) in the
opening month in the last 50 years trailing only
Andres Galarraga's .500 mark with Montreal in
1986 and Willie Randolph's .480 pct. with the
Yankees in 1976 ...
Batted only .239 in June but finished up hitting
safely in 48 of his last 60 games starting July 25
while batting .290 (75-259) ... had a 12-game hitting
streak, July 25-Aug 6.
In 2006, played in a career-high 145 games and batted .311, fifth best in the Central League...He also finished in the league's top five in slugging (.552), total bases (292), home runs (32)
and walks (67), and was 6th in on-base pct (.388).
Was a five-time All-Star (2001-02-04-05-06) and six-time Gold Glove recipient (2000-01-02-04-05-06) with Yakult...He is a career .300 hitter and has finished in the Central League's top 10 in hitting three
seasons: 4th in 2002 (.320), 5th in 2006 (.311) and 6th in 2005 (.319)...Over the last three seasons has batted .307 and averaged 35 home runs and 94 RBI per
season...His 106 home runs over that span are 4th overall in the Nippon Professional League
(NPL) behind Tyrone Woods, Chunichi Dragons (130), Nobuhiko Matsunaka, Fukuoka SoftBank
Hawks (109) and Julio Zuleto, Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks (109).