Maxwell returns from rehab stint; Paredes optioned

Maxwell returns from rehab stint; Paredes optioned

Maxwell returns from rehab stint; Paredes optioned

HOUSTON -- The Astros got a key reinforcement back, as the club called up outfielder Justin Maxwell from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Monday night, manager Bo Porter said.

Maxwell was the starting center fielder before fracturing his left hand on April 23. Porter said Maxwell will be activated from the disabled list and rejoin the lineup when Houston hosts Milwaukee on Tuesday night.

Maxwell may not have his old job back, though. Porter recently said that Brandon Barnes has warranted more time in center with his stellar defensive play.

"I'm going to say that [Justin] will start. I'm not going to say it will be at center field," Porter said on Friday. "Brandon Barnes has done a great job there. He will warrant some continued playing time in center. That's why we've had Maxwell play some places beside center field [during his rehab assignment]. It gives us the luxury of having the option for both guys."

So where does Maxwell fit in? The likely answer is right field, where Jimmy Paredes started for much of May before Trevor Crowe supplanted him over the last two weeks. Paredes was optioned to Triple-A to open a spot for Maxwell.

But Crowe's struggled at the plate himself, batting just .182, but earning Porter's faith with his defense and baseball acumen. With J.D. Martinez solidified in left and the designated hitter role usually reserved for Jason Castro, Carlos Pena or Chris Carter, that leaves right field as the logical position for Maxwell.

Maxwell just wrapped up a four-game stint in Oklahoma City, where he hit .267 with three RBIs and a homer. That was a dramatic improvement from the first part of his rehab assignment, when he played six games at Double-A Corpus Christi and battled stomach ailments while getting just one hit in 23 plate appearances.

Paredes was the initial replacement for an outfield spot after Maxwell got hurt, collecting an RBI in his first two games with the team after being called up and starting 29 games total since May 7. Paredes struggled of late, collecting just one hit in June to make him a fairly obvious choice to clear a roster spot for Maxwell.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. Chris Abshire is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.