The A's traded one of their most powerful bats for a proven major-league infielder Monday.

Oakland was set to enter the 2013 season with a relatively inexperienced infield, but the team acquired Stanford alum Jed Lowrie, who has played shortstop with Boston and Houston, in exchange for first baseman/designated hitter Chris Carter.

A's general manager Billy Beane was quick to say that recently signed Hiro Nakajima will remain the starter at shortstop and that Lowrie will play all over the infield.

The A's dealt two minor-leaguers to Houston: right-hander Brad Peacock, obtained in the Gio Gonzalez deal with Washington before last season, and catcher Max Stassi, who is from Yuba City. The Astros also sent right-handed reliever Fernando Rodriguez to Oakland.

Carter hit 16 homers in 218 at-bats in 2012, but Beane suggested during a conference call that the at-bats weren't going to be there for Carter this year. Carter was the right-handed hitter in a first-base platoon with Brandon Moss, but Carter's best fit is DH, and the A's have four everyday outfielders plus Seth Smith, meaning the DH spot is full.

Lowrie, 28, is a switch hitter and has experience at all four infield spots. He said Monday that he is most comfortable at short and second.

The A's biggest question mark is at second, where Scott Sizemore and Jemile Weeks were expected to compete for the job; however, Nakajima is something of an unknown quantity at shortstop and Josh Donaldson didn't really come into his own at third base until the final month last season. Moss was an outfielder who hadn't played first regularly until coming to the big club in June.

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