HOUSTON -- Astros owner Jim Crane has said on a pair of occasions the club is considering getting rid of Tal's Hill, the incline that's in play in straightaway center field in Minute Maid Park. That could cost the Astros a little bit of a home-field advantage.
Center fielder Justin Maxwell made a diving catch on the hill Thursday, a play which he said he learned to make after chasing a Garrett Jones ball to the hill earlier this year and having his legs unexpectedly cut out from under him.
"[Thursday], as I felt myself on the warning track right before I was going to catch the ball, I jumped just so I wouldn't trip because I knew if I was going to run full speed I was going to fall like last time," he said. "But I'm glad I made the play."
Fellow center fielder Jordan Schafer said earlier this year he hoped the hill would be removed because of the risk of an injury, but Maxwell -- who has ample power -- is torn.
"It's good for our pitchers, just because that part of the ballpark is so huge," he said. "And from a defensive outfield standpoint, I don't have to worry about the wall and I can run for a day. I like it for defense, but as a hitter, if they want to get rid of it, sure."