Astros acquire Lowrie from Red Sox

The Houston Astros have acquired infielder Jed player trade.

The Astros also received pitcher Kyle Weiland from the Red Sox, and sent right-handed reliever Mark Melancon to Boston. To make room for Lowrie and Weiland on the roster, Houston designated infielder Brian Bixler for assignment.

"We're extremely excited to have Jed and Kyle as part of our club," said Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow. "They fill two significant needs for the major league club, which are shortstop and pitching depth. Both are talented young players that we feel have the chance to help us."

Lowrie had spent his entire career with the Red Sox, who selected him as a supplemental pick in the first round of the 2005 draft.

He broke into the majors in 2008 and had his best year in 2010, when he hit .287 with a .381 on-base percentage, nine homers and 24 RBI in 55 games. But last season, Lowrie regressed. In 88 games, he hit .252 with a .303 OBP and only six homers. He struck out 60 times and worked only 23 walks.

Lowrie, 27, has played in 256 games over four seasons with Boston. He has hit .252 with a .324 OBP, 19 homers and 117 RBI while playing all the infield positions, mostly shortstop.

On the other hand, Melancon shined last season in his first full year with Houston, which acquired him from the Yankees in July 2010 in the Lance Berkman trade.

Melancon, 26, made 71 appearances for the Astros in 2011 and had a 2.78 earned run average, while striking out 66 and walking 26 in 74 1/3 innings.

He also converted 20-of-25 save opportunities and is likely to be a candidate to become the Red Sox's closer. Boston needs one after Jonathan Papelbon signed with the Phillies last month.

While the Astros lost Melancon, they gained another right-hander in Weiland, who made his major league debut in 2011. He appeared in seven games (five starts) and went 0-3 with a 7.66 ERA.

Weiland, 25, spent most of last season at Triple-A Pawtucket and went 8-10 with a 3.58 ERA in 24 starts.