HOUSTON -- Astros shortstop Jed Lowrie is always on the move, and that's no different when it comes to the holiday season. Lowrie and his wife, Milessa Muchmore-Lowrie, love to travel and will spend the Christmas season trying to see as many relatives as possible.
The couple, who were married last November, typically split the holidays between Oregon -- where Lowrie grew up and his family lives -- and Arizona -- where his wife's family lives. This year, the Lowries will spend Christmas in Oregon with Jed's family, which will bring back memories of childhood holidays.
"I remember getting a big, red plastic baseball bat and I started playing baseball at 4 or 5 years old, and I remember getting that and going out in the front yard and playing with my dad," he said.
Lowrie now swings a larger, wooden bat for the Astros, who traded for him 13 months ago in a deal with Boston. In his first season in Houston, Lowrie hit .244 with 16 homers and 42 RBIs despite missing the first six games with a thumb sprain and then 52 more in the middle of the season with a leg injury.
Lowrie and his wife, who took a safari to Tanzania for their honeymoon a year ago, recently returned from a trip to Ecuador and Peru, which included trips to Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands. Their travels meant Thanksgiving was spent overseas the last two years, but Christmas is about coming home.
"We always like to come home and spend Christmas with family," said Lowrie, who along with his wife are raising a miniature Australian shepherd named Wylie. "My dad's family is from Oregon and my mom's family is from Minnesota, so as a kid we would spend one Christmas in Oregon and the next one in Minnesota and alternate."
That meant an occasional white Christmas.
"Being in the valley in Oregon, we barely got snow on Christmas, maybe a couple of times growing up is all," he said. "I got my snow fix every other year going to Minnesota. I saw more than enough."
When Lowrie wasn't getting new baseball equipment as a kid, he was usually unwrapping video games. His love for technology has changed. He's an avid photographer who sells photos from his adventurous trips online and hopes this year Santa brings a new iPad with a retina display to store some of his photos.
Lowrie's travels will soon take him to Florida, where the Astros will open Spring Training in less than two months and prepare for their first season in the American League. Once the decorations have been taken down and the calendar is flipped to 2013, it's time for baseball.
"I've started to work out a little bit and get the body back going again," he said. "Once the holidays are over, it's time to really focus on baseball and get back into the swings of things -- no pun intended. That's kind of the mentality -- once Christmas is over, the holidays are over, we have to start focusing on baseball."
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.