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Astros' Maxwell provides power sooner than expected

The SportsXchange

The Houston Astros wanted Justin Maxwell on their bench for the power they thought he could provide. Just one day into his tenure, that's turned into the power they know he can provide.

Maxwell capped a wild week for him with a two-run home run in his first at-bat as an Astro and capped the team's third straight win, 8-3 over the Atlanta Braves. It's exactly what they had in mind in claiming the 28-year-old slugger off waivers from the New York Yankees.

"He got here at what, 12:30 today," manager Brad Mills said. "He just stepped in and joined the club."

What he found when he arrived was obviously a younger team than the Yankees and one where he could get a real chance to contribute off the bench.

"Where I came from in New York, I was one of the younger guys at 28, but now I'm right at the cusp of the average," Maxwell said.

He'll back up at all three outfield positions being that right-handed outfield bat the Astros lacked since trading Jason Bourgeois to Kansas City. He lacks the speed of Bourgeois but makes up for it with the ability to leave the yard.

To make room on the roster, they optioned Fernando Abad to Class AAA Oklahoma City, ending the eight-man bullpen experiment three games in. While Mills admitted his bench felt short, he recognizes the sacrifice dropping down to one lefty.

"I always like flexibility out of the pitching staff," Mills said. "You get more flexibility in one place and you reduce it (in another)."
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