WASHINGTON -- Justin Maxwell, claimed off waivers by the Astros from the Yankees earlier this season, was in the starting lineup for the first time, playing center field on Tuesday. Maxwell was drafted by the Nationals in 2005, and played 122 games for them between 2007-10.
"I'm excited to get out there and play," Maxwell said before the game. "I think last year in Spring Training it was weird, and playing against the Nationals' Triple-A team when I was with the Yankees, that was kind of weird. And then this year, I played them a couple of times again in Spring Training and it was all business. I think I'm past all the jitters and all the other stuff."
The trip to Washington serves as sort of a homecoming for Maxwell, who was born in Olney, Md., and attended the University of Maryland. He lives about an hour away from the nation's capital, but said his parents and a few other friends and family members would be in attendance Tuesday.
"They're excited to see me play in an Astros uniform," he said.
Maxwell took early batting practice Tuesday to make sure he was prepared to get four or five at-bats. He singled to center in his first at-bat.
"I have experience playing in the National League, and you can kind of think along with [manager Brad Mills] and know when you're going to get your opportunities in the game, and [when] you might get the occasional start," he said. "They've been good about communicating with everybody about what their roles are, so there's no surprise."
Mills had wanted to get Maxwell in the lineup, but it didn't hurt that starting center fielder Jordan Schafer is sick with a cough. Schafer said he became ill in his hotel in Miami last weekend and hasn't been able to shake it.
"I feel terrible," he said.