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02/09/12 5:35 PM EST

Day after deal, Lowrie hooks up with CAREavan

Shortstop makes first public appearance in Astros jersey

HOUSTON -- Jed Lowrie was shaking hands, posing for pictures and making as many friends as possible during the Astros' winter CAREavan stop Thursday at a local college, which marked the newest Astros player's first public appearance in his No. 4 jersey.

Lowrie appeared to be as comfortable as he could be in his new surroundings and said he relishes the chance to reach out to the fans, especially the little ones, who were eager to see the Astros newest shortstop. He was joined Thursday on the community appearance circuit by teammate J.D. Martinez, manager Brad Mills and general manager Jeff Luhnow, as well as announcers Bill Brown and Alex Trevino.

"It's a great opportunity for me to come out here and help out in the community, and I love doing it," said Lowrie, who had Mills as a bench coach his first two years in the Major Leagues in 2008-09. "I was active in Boston [off the field], and I hope to be just as active in Houston."

The Astros hope Lowrie, who on Wednesday was signed for $1.15 million to avoid arbitration, will remain active on the field, too. He has played a part-time role with the Red Sox for the past four seasons and has battled injury problems that were more the result of his hard-nosed style of play than anything else.

Lowrie, 27, has been working out this offseason in the Tampa, Fla., area like he's done for the last several years and hopes to be able to play the full season at shortstop for Houston. Last year, he appeared in a career-high 88 games for the Red Sox and hit .252 with six homers and 36 RBIs before a December trade sent him south.

"I feel great," he said. "I've had some unfortunate injuries, stuff that was completely out of my control, stuff that happens when you play the game hard and play the game the right way. I got in a collision going back for a popup in no-man's land last year. Before that, it was a broken wrist where a guy slid into me at second base.

"Fortunately, I haven't had the wear-and-tear injuries that come along with baseball so far. I know I'm capable of playing every game every year. It's a matter of having a little luck on my side and staying healthy."

What should be encouraging to Astros fans is that Lowrie has been able to ramp up his offseason workouts this year because he hasn't been dealing with any injuries or surgeries. There have been no restrictions in his preparations for spring camp, which begins later this month.

"It's the first offseason I've had in probably three years where I've been able to get a lot of strong lifts in where I haven't had to protect some area of my body," he said. "I feel like I'm in great shape. My work ethic is going great. That just builds excitement."

Lowrie has no issues with being traded to an Astros team that lost 106 games last year and is rebuilding, having come from a Boston organization that made the playoffs in 2008 and 2009 -- his first two seasons with the Red Sox -- and narrowly missed out last year.

"I think, at the end of the day, it's about winning," he said. "I expect that we will win every game we play. I know that's not realistic, even with the Boston Red Sox. I'm going to go out there and expect to win every day, and that's the mentality I have and I know that's the mentality Brad Mills has. You have to have those lofty expectations and work from there."

Brian McTaggart is reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.