HOUSTON -- Astros outfielder Justin Maxwell, who's been out for a month with a fractured left hand that was expected to sideline him four to six weeks, said Friday he will travel to the club's extended spring training in Kissimmee, Fla., on Wednesday to begin a Minor League rehab assignment.
If all goes well, Maxwell said he will report to Class A Quad Cities within a week to continue his rehab.
"It's just sore because I hold my bat with the pinkies over the knob, so when I go through the hitting zone there's additional pressure on the fracture site," he said. "It's not getting swollen, and Dr. [Tom] Mehlhoff said as long as it's not swollen, it's fine."
Maxwell took a big step in his recovery from his April 23 injury by taking 20 swings off hitting coach John Mallee in the cage Friday, and he said while his wrist is still sore, it's not getting any worse. Maxwell, who was hitting .234 with one homer and six RBIs in 77 at-bats, has been fitted with a protective plastic shield that attaches to his battling glove by Velcro.
"It was exciting last week when I got to hold a bat for the first time in three weeks," Maxwell said. "It's just exciting to see a live ball coming at you again and take some swings. You do it all offseason and to have to sit out for a while, it's frustrating."
Astros manager Bo Porter said the team doesn't want to rush him.
"We want to make sure the hand is 100 percent healed and he's able to take the impact of live pitching," he said. "That remains to be seen, but he's closer."
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. Chris Abshire is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.