Jed Lowrie acquired by A's

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Jed Lowrie acquired by A's

The Red Sox stole the A's shortstop when they signed Stephen Drew to a one-year contract. So, on Monday, Oakland returned the favor . . . kind of.

Ex-Red Sox infielder Jed Lowrie -- dealt by the Sox to the Astros last winter in the Mark Melancon deal -- is now in Oakland, having been acquired by the A's in a five-player deal. The A's picked up Lowrie and right-handed pitcher Fernando Rodriguez for first baseman Chris Carter (another ex-Sox farmhand), right-hander Brad Peacock and catcher Max Stassi.

Lowrie could replace Drew at shortstop for the A's, or he could play second base with Japanese import Hiroyuki Nakajima at short. Perpetually injured -- including last year, when he missed the second half of the season -- he still hit 16 homers in 97 games in 2012 and could be a valuable addition if he could stay healthy. Of course, the Red Sox said that every year from 2008 until they traded him, and the Astros said it last year.

There's a first time for everything, though, and if it happens this year . . .

Boston pitchers strike out 14, but Red Sox still fall to Rays, 7-3

Boston pitchers strike out 14, but Red Sox still fall to Rays, 7-3

The appearance of Tampa Bay Rays lefty Ryan Yarbrough almost got the Boston Red Sox back in their spring training exhibition game. The Sox managed to score all three of their runs against the 25-year-old in their 7-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Florida on Sunday.

But the Rays, who scored runs in five different innings, managed to widen their lead in the eighth inning by beating up on Sox lefty Luis Isla, a 24-year-old who spent last season with Portland and Pawtucket. In the eighth, Rays' Joe McCarthy homered and Luke Maile managed an RBI single, which cappped off the scoring in the contest. Sox starter Hector Velazquez allowed three hits and an earned run in his two innnings. The 28-year-old, who spent 2016 in the Mexican League, still managed to amass four strikeouts.

"I was a little nervous at the start, being in the United States for the first time and playing for a big league club for the first time," Velazquez told RedSox.com through an interpreter. "But once I got the first out, all the nerves went away, and I was able to bear down."

Despite allowing two homers, Boston pitchers combined for 14 strikeouts.

With the exception of the Sox' inning against Yarbrough, Boston's veterans and prospects struggled mighltily against the Rays pitching staff. Chris Archer started for Tampa, and set the tone in the first two innings, where he threw two strikeouts, one walk and allowed one hit and no runs. Andrew Benintendi (0-for-3), Sam Travis (0-for-2) and Bryce Brentz (0-for-3) went hitless on the day. Travis, however, reached base on balls.

"I felt good. I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish," Archer said, via the Red Sox' team website. "Just out there having fun, it was really fun to be out there in the spectrum with the umpire, the fans, the batter. It was fun."

Marco Hernandez's triple got the Sox' eighth-inning off to a strong start, and singles from Matt Dominguez, Deven Marrero, Rusney Castillo and Cole Sturgeon followed. The Sox' eighth inning scoring ended after Castillo got thrown out by left fielder McCarthy at third. Six Red Sox finished with one-hit outings, including Brock Holt and Blake Swihart.

The Sox will next host the St. Louis Cardinals in Fort Myers on Monday at 1:05 p.m. ET.