Home sweet home for Carter

Home sweet home for Carter

OAKLAND -- Home has certainly been sweet to Chris Carter.

The 23-year-old Oakland slugger, who went 0-for-32 on the road to start his career, has since hit in all four home games on the current stand, going 5-for-10 with a home run, two RBIs and three runs scored.

"The games are a lot more fun now that I'm actually contributing and helping the team out, instead of just going 0-for every game," Carter said. "Now I'm not thinking about this 0-for streak I had. Now it's gone. It's all past. I can just keep going after this."

But Carter's biggest adjustment hasn't come in the batter's box, as he is trying to make the move from his natural position of first base to left field. In 13 of his initial 15 big league games, Carter has played in left, while he's played designated hitter in the other two contests. First-base coach Todd Steverson has been working with Carter before games to improve his defense.

"Only time is going to tell how good he'll end up being out there," Steverson said. "For a relative newbie in the outfield, he's doing all right. He goes after ball OK. It takes a while to really understand your feet in the outfield, in terms of your breaks and your moves. ... He's a good enough athlete to catch the ball, it's just a matter of getting to the right spots."

Carter said he will be going to Venezuela this winter, marking the second straight season he's headed south for winter ball. Last season, Carter played in Mexico, but he missed about two weeks of action due to illness.

This time around, Carter's main focus will be on defense. Carter will be playing for the Tiburones de La Guaira in Caracas, while fellow A's Jeff Larish and Henry Rodriguez will be playing for the Leones de Caracas, another Venezuelan team based out the same stadium. In all, Carter has only played about a month of left field between his time in Triple-A Sacramento and Oakland.

"It takes a while to make the adjustment with your eyes from the infield to the outfield and learning how read balls off the bat," Steverson said. "If the season ended and he was never to show up again for Spring Training, he would probably still be behind as an outfielder. But him going to winter ball, that's going to help him quite a bit."