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Jed Lowrie healthy, and productive, for A's

SEATTLE — It sounds simple. Stay healthy, have a productive season.

It's been easier said than done, though, for Oakland shortstop Jed Lowrie -- until last year.

For the first time, the North Salem High grad enjoyed an injury-free major-league season. The results: career highs in games (154), doubles (45), RBIs (75) and batting average (.290). He also ranked second in the American League in doubles behind Baltimore's Manny Machado (51).

"As a player, playing a full season is all you can ask for," said Lowrie, who has spent at least parts of every season since 2008 in the majors. "Unfortunately, due to collision-like injuries, I never got that opportunity before."

Wrist. Forearm. Mononucleosis. Shoulder. Thumb. Ankle. Injuries to said body parts and illness were reasons why he spent good portions of every season from 2009-12 on the disabled list.

Now, he is working on his second straight healthy season with the A's, batting second and playing every day at shortstop. Though he is hitting only .242, Lowrie has shown an excellent eye at the plate. He has drawn at least one base on balls in six straight games and has 13 walks for the season, which ranks second in the AL. His on-base percentage is .458, sixth in the league.

"It's been good," said Lowrie, who went 0 for 2 with a pair of walks in Oakland's 3-1 victory over Seattle Saturday night at Safeco Field. "I'm just trying to continue to refine and maintain the approach I had last year at the plate. No major changes there. I need to continue to work defensively and be that same guy every night."

After an outstanding three years at Stanford -- he was Pac-10 player of the year in 2004 -- Lowrie began his pro career with Boston after the Red Sox made him a supplemental draft pick following the first round. He made his big-league debut in 2008 and had his moments, but never stayed healthy enough to win a starting job full-time.

Traded to Houston after the 2011 campaign, Lowrie managed 97 games around two stints on the disabled list, hitting .244 with 16 homers and 42 RBIs for the lowly Astros. Oakland acquired him via trade in the offseason, and he rewarded the A's with a franchise single-season record for doubles by a switch-hitter and an Oakland record for hits by a switch-hitter (175).

Lowrie has enjoyed a return to the Bay Area, where he spent his three years at Stanford. It's also closer to home and parents Dan and Miriam Lowrie, who still live in Salem and drive north for the Mariners-A's series.

"I love coming up here," Lowrie said. "My parents come up, plus I have other family in Oregon and an aunt and uncle in Seattle. It's always great to spend time with them, and I love this part of the country."

Lowrie was part of a banner group of players out of the state in the early 2000s, including Jacoby Ellsbury, Cole Gillespie and Trevor Crowe. All are Pac-10 players of the years -- Lowrie, Ellsbury (Oregon State) and Crowe (Arizona) as co-recipients in 2005 and Gillespie (Oregon State) in 2006.

"We all played on the same travel team the summer between our sophomore and junior years in high school," said Lowrie, who turns 30 on Thursday. "Jacoby and I grew up playing together. We came up together in the Boston farm system and have remained close."

Lowrie played on some excellent Boston teams and saw time in the playoffs in 2008 and '09, but missed out on the Red Sox's World Series championships in 2007 and '13. He played for the the A's in their division-series loss to Detroit last season and would love to get another postseason run as Oakland shoots for its third straight AL West title this season.

"We have pretty much the same core group as last year," he said. Management "did a good job of replacing the guys who departed. I don't see why we can't win the division again. We have a bunch of good players in this clubhouse."

Lowrie said he sets no personal goals.

"I've played through enough injuries to know the statistics will be there at the end," he said. "I know with my skill set, if I stay healthy and I maintain my approach, my numbers will be where they should be."

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Twitter: @kerryeggers