Hitting work earns Maxwell roster spot with Giants

Outfielder batted .349 this spring; Brown designated for assignment

Hitting work earns Maxwell roster spot with Giants

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- As a youth, Justin Maxwell occasionally filled the margins of his notebook paper at school by doodling the interlocking "SF" logo that's familiar to every Giants fan.

Now the outfielder can proudly continue to wear that insignia on his cap.

A non-roster invitee to Spring Training, Maxwell completed his ascent Tuesday when Giants manager Bruce Bochy and assistant general manager Bobby Evans informed him that he had made the Opening Night roster and gave him his 2015 contract to sign. Maxwell received this reward after going 3-for-3 and driving in three runs to help the Giants outlast Colorado, 4-3, in a Cactus League game.

Meanwhile, the Giants cleared 40-man roster room for Maxwell by designating outfielder Gary Brown for assignment. Brown, 26, was San Francisco's No. 1 pick (24th overall) in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. He was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento on Sunday after hitting .154 (6-for-39) in 22 Cactus League games. Brown hit .277 with 141 stolen bases in five Minor League seasons.

Maxwell's three-run homer

The 31-year-old Maxwell has spent time with Washington (2007, 2009-10), Houston (2012-13) and Kansas City (2013-14) during his professional career. As his itinerant background suggests, consistency has not been his hallmark as a ballplayer.

That began to change this spring, when Maxwell watched a variety of videos of his Major League plate appearances with hitting coach Hensley Meulens.

"Pretty much I was doing something different on every swing," said Maxwell, a .224 career Major League hitter. Meulens coaxed Maxwell into developing more of a routine with each at-bat that would help sustain him against any pitcher.

Particularly while right fielder Hunter Pence is sidelined, the right-handed-batting Maxwell will come in handy against left-handed pitching. That's partly why Bochy waited until Tuesday's second inning to install Maxwell against Colorado lefty Tyler Matzek as a substitute for Gregor Blanco, since it simulated how the reserve will be used.

Maxwell proceeded to hike his Cactus League batting average to .349 and his team-leading RBI total to 14.

If anybody's more excited than Maxwell, it's his father, Austin, whose favorite player was Giants legend Willie Mays. The younger Maxwell inherited the Giants gene and grew up rooting for the likes of Barry Bonds, J.T. Snow and Rich Aurilia, though the family never lived in Northern California.

"I'm excited to be able to wear a Giants uniform," Maxwell said.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.