PHOENIX -- When the A's traded for Jed Lowrie, the former Houston Astros shortstop, they did so with the idea that he could play any of the four infield positions, even first base in a pinch.
But Lowrie still thinks of himself as a shortstop, even though his best chance at cracking the A's starting lineup is as a second baseman.
He doesn't have to say it. You see it in the way he throws from second base. He uses a long motion, not the shortened, close-to-the-body throw more commonly used by second basemen.
"I don't think there's any difference throwing from shortstop as throwing from second," Lowrie said.
Third base coach Mike Gallego, who played shortstop and second base during a big-league career that included eight years with the A's, begs to differ. Gallego was one of those who made the adjustment to the shorter arm motion when he played second base. But Gallego doesn't find fault with what Lowrie said.
"The throw from second base can be a little easier for a guy who knows he's going to have to play all three positions if he doesn't change the way he throws," Gallego said. "He knows he's going to play second, but he knows he's going to play short and third, too. He's keeping the mindset that will make the transition easier for him."
If Lowrie does become the full-time second baseman, he might well change his throwing motion. For now, he's just trying to get comfortable with a new club. And much of that is taking place inside the clubhouse, where he has become a regular in card games.
There was plenty of time for card games Friday morning as rain inundated the Valley of the Sun, although the A's eventually piled into their bus for the trip to Peoria and a game with the Seattle Mariners. It was called after four innings with the A's leading 12-1.
Lowrie was excused from the trip to Peoria, but it's clear that he doesn't want any days off once the season starts. He wants a chance to play shortstop every day. Or second base.
Mostly, Lowrie would like to play for a winner -- the Astros lost 107 games in 2012 -- and he'd like the respect he believes he didn't get last year.
Lowrie had the best first-half of his career last season, hitting .254 with 14 home runs, 38 runs scored and 36 RBI.
"I really wanted that first All-Star berth, and I had a breakout first half and it didn't happen," Lowrie said. "That was disappointing."
Four days later, there was much more disappointment. A collision at second base with Giants base runner Gregor Blanco put Lowrie on crutches with a sprained ankle and nerve damage in his leg. He wouldn't get into another game until mid-September.
"The All-Star thing and the injury, they were very disappointing at the time," Lowrie said. "I'm over it now. You have to move on. I'm here now, and I'm with a new team I like a lot and I'm looking at a new situation."
In addition to a different position, that could include a new spot in the batting order. The Astros batted Lowrie in the middle of the lineup as often as not. The A's don't need him there, so Lowrie could settle in batting second or further down the order.
"This is obviously a lot different from Houston," he said. "I don't know what position I'll be playing. I'm fighting for a job. But that's a good thing, too."
Gallego has worked with Lowrie extensively this spring, and he says Lowrie is very dependable.
"If a ball is hit to him, he's going to make the play," Gallego said. "He thinks about what might happen. He anticipates. When you know how to anticipate, you're ahead of the game."
Even if you aren't quite sure what position you'll be playing.
Then he went out and homered in his first two at-bats.
"If you told me that somebody had left his jersey behind," catcher John Jaso said, "and then hit two homers, I would have known it was Donaldson."
Or, as manager Bob Melvin said, "the legend grows." Asked if Donaldson will keep 98, Melvin said, "it's been discussed, believe me."
Others besides Donaldson to homer were Michael Choice, Shane Patterson and Seth Smith.
Top prospect Choice gets tips from an All-Star. www.mercurynews.com/Athletics