Originally posted on Fox Sports Houston  |  Last updated 4/10/12
HOUSTON- Nameplates are often last on the checklist in the frenzy of player transactions, thus while Justin Maxwell was sufficiently outfitted for his Astros debut and announced his arrival with a two-run, pinch-hit home run in the eighth inning on Monday night at Minute Maid Park, the space next to the No. 22 above his locker remained blank afterward. That logistical hazard did not excuse his being misidentified by one his new teammates. It was his surname that was absent in the clubhouse. "Somebody called me 'Jason' but I'll forgive him," Maxwell quipped. Maxwell described his 384-foot blast to left field as "pretty cool" when asked to summarize the likelihood of his capping a frenetic 48 hours in such a fashion. After the Yankees designated Maxwell for assignment last week, he spent several days enjoying family functions back home in Maryland before getting the call the Astros had claimed him off waivers. He likened the news to divine intervention, a fitting description given that the call came on Easter Sunday. Instead of sulking over the Yankees opting to go in a different direction in constructing their 25-man roster, Maxwell took advantage of the down time to prematurely celebrate the birthday of his middle child, Liana, who won't turn two until Thursday. "It's just the fact that you put in all the work in spring training and you've got to go home for a few days." Maxwell said of the initial disappointment. "It actually worked out to where I got to see my daughter for her second birthday party. I got to experience that; I missed it last year because I was playing. And then my father-in-law and brother-in-law had a surprise birthday party, so I got to do some fun stuff. "It was nice to go home for another day, but at the same time I kind of wish I was on a team for opening day." His opening day came Monday night in the Astros' 8-3 victory over the Braves. Acquired to provide some additional depth in the outfield and to balance the scales of a largely left-handed collection featuring Jordan Schafer, Brian Bogusevic and Travis Buck, Maxwell flexed some of the prodigious power Astros manager Brad Mills had gushed about earlier. The Nationals' fourth-round draft pick out of Maryland in 2005, Maxwell slugged .579 with Single A Hagerstown in 2007, .491 with Double A Potomac that same summer, and .500 in 27 plate appearances with the Nationals following his call-up on Sept. 5 later that season. Maxwell, 28, played a total of 122 games with the Nationals over three seasons (batting .201.319.379), was traded to the Yankees on Feb. 2, 2011, and slugged .588 in 48 games with Triple A ScrantonWilkes-Barre. What the Astros are taking a flyer on is his raw power and athleticism. Maxwell can play all three outfield positions and runs fluidly for a man who stands 6-foot-5 and weights 235 pounds. In many ways he resembles Astros right fielder Brian Bogusevic in that he's a plus athlete with power potential that hasn't yet materialized in the major leagues. The issue with Maxwell has been the frequency with which his swings and misses. In three separate stints with the Nationals his strikeout rate was 29.6 percent in 2007, 31.4 percent in '09, and 32.8 percent in 2010. Last season Maxwell struck out in 35.3 percent of his plate appearances, leaving the Astros next in line to attempt to harness his talent. "If we feel that there is something mechanically that he's doing wrong and we see exactly where his mindset is, then we'll make those adjustments as we go," Mills said. "It kind of comes into play the same thing when you talk about can a guy see more pitches, can a guy have a better on-base percentage as he gets older. Well, you never really know. You don't know unless you work on it and then try to get better, and that's how we're going to face it with him." In 2008, Maxwell played 43 games with Double A Harrisburg and produced what to this point represents an outlier sample. His walk rate (17.2 percent) exceeded his strikeout rate (15.6) for the only time in his professional career. This spring with the Yankees, Maxwell posted a batting line of .310.408.429 with seven walks and 10 strikeouts. "I like what I'm doing now as opposed to having an open stance back then," Maxwell said of his years on the farm. "As you climb the ladder pitchers start to take advantage of those mechanical things, like I got a lot more sinkers in and jammed myself a lot. There are a lot of moving parts, so I just try to keep it simple now." Fortune smiled on Maxwell against the Braves, continuing a weekend of beneficial timing. He was able to scout the Astros on Sunday because of the free preview package offered by MLB Extra Innings. With the Astros comfortably ahead in the latter stages on Monday, Mills took advantage of the opportunity to get Maxwell an at-bat on his first night in uniform. The dugout erupted after Maxwell cashed in against Braves right-hander Chad Durbin. All that remains is a refresher course on names. "Everybody was thrilled to death for him," Mills said. "This guy got here at, what, 12:30, and he stepped in and just kind of joined the club. The guys take him and we just move on. From my point of view that's outstanding." Said Maxwell: "All the guys have been very welcoming. The hardest part has been learning everybody's name." Follow me on Twitter at moisekapenda
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Is Madison Bumgarner a bully?
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Alabama’s opening week starting QB is transferring

Cubs sign Theo Epstein to five-year extension

Marlins players surrounded Jose Fernandez’s hearse during its procession

Jason Garrett: Dez Bryant has hairline fracture in knee

Newspaper runs insensitive headline following Mets win

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Curt Schilling plans to run against Elizabeth Warren in 2018

WATCH: Tebow homers on first pitch he sees in first game

Report: Garoppolo still dealing with shoulder pain, mobility

J.J. Watt placed on IR, reportedly expected to miss rest of 2016

Nationals GM: Strasburg ‘unlikely to pitch in NLDS’

Nebraska regent wants players kicked off team for kneeling during anthem

WNBA semifinals preview: Will the rust show for Lynx, Sparks?

Breaking down baseball’s Cy Young ballot

TailGreater: 'Sterngating' with the Huskies

Can anyone challenge the Cavs in murky Eastern Conference?

2016 Ryder Cup preview: Five things to watch this weekend

Ryan Kesler disappointed with lack of excitement at World Cup

Lesser known MMA fighters who could be ready for the WWE

Box Score: 9/28 - Bosh, FIFA, Ali and Mangenius

Geno Smith deletes Instagram post possibly critical of Jets

Most glaring flaw for each MLB playoff contender

The Worst - NFL Week 3: Steve Smith, Odell Beckham & of course the Browns

FIFA 17 review: O jogo bonito

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WNBA semifinals preview: Will the rust show for Lynx, Sparks?

Breaking down baseball’s Cy Young ballot

TailGreater: 'Sterngating' with the Huskies

Can anyone challenge the Cavs in murky Eastern Conference?

The Worst - NFL Week 3: Steve Smith, Odell Beckham & of course the Browns

FIFA 17 review: O jogo bonito

To save his legacy Chris Bosh must first protect his health

What the NBA (and world) looked like before Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan

A fond farewell to Vin Scully

So where will the ACC football championship be played?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker