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Rays reportedly to get shot at Japanese slugger
By MARC TOPKIN
Published November 15, 2006
The Devil Rays may be close to adding star Japanese third baseman Akinori Iwamura to their lineup. ESPN's Peter Gammons reports the Rays have posted a winning bid of $4.5-million for the rights to negotiate with Iwamura, 27, who has averaged .310 with 35 homers and 94 RBIs over the past three seasons for Yakult. Iwamura has won five gold gloves at third but can also play second and the outfield, which would give the Rays numerous options. Yakult is expected to announce by Thursday if it will accept the Rays' bid; if so, the Rays have 30 days to come to terms with Iwamura.