Maxwell starts in center as Barnes gets breather

Maxwell starts in center as Barnes gets breather

From searching for a center fielder to having three of them, that's been the Astros' progression between late April and now, with Thursday's game being a prime example.

Starter Brandon Barnes got a breather against the Brewers, giving Justin Maxwell the first action at his old spot since fracturing his left hand on April 23. Maxwell came off the DL Monday, starting the first two games against Milwuakee, but he played right field in both of them.

"It's a good thing to have all these options," said Astros manager Bo Porter. "It's actually made our outfield better when you have two guys capable of playing center."

Trevor Crowe started in right, where he had just earned the everyday starting nod before Maxwell's comeback.

"Even with Trevor out there today, you've got another experienced guy who's played middle outfield," Porter said. "That's also the luxury of Trevor being a switch-hitter, that there are three days in a row we're facing righties, so you can give a guy like Brandon a day off."

Maxwell is 1-for-6 with two walks and two runs scored while playing right field through two games. Porter said Maxwell looks healthy as ever, shoring up any concerns about the injured hand.

"He looks fine, like he's strong," Porter said. "His wrist is holding up, so there's no problems there. As the at-bats go along, Justin Maxwell is capable of getting hot and carrying a ballclub."

Chris Abshire is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.