Justin Maxwell's big week
Justin Maxwell sat next to Ian Desmond this morning in the Nationals clubhouse, finally a chance to relax. "Expect me to get hot," Desmond joked. "Maxwell's my boy." They both bragged about their prowess when they played together in Class A Potomac. They claimed they were the best 1-2 combination in the history of the Carolina League, which I don't think is an official designation.
Maxwell had arrived there, back in the major leagues, after the best and probably busiest week of his life. On Sunday, he played for Class AAA Syracuse and drove to Frederick that night to be with his wife, Loren. At 8 a.m. Monday, Loren gave birth to Liana, their second child.
He drove to Scranton, Pa., to meet his Syracuse teammates. After batting practice Wednesday, Maxwell learned he would be playing for the Nationals again. He drove to Philadelphia last night.
All the travel -- "I've got real comfortable with my Pontiac," Maxwell said -- was worth it. In the span of 72 hours, Maxwell welcomed a daughter and became a big leaguer again. "I feel blessed," Maxwell said.
Maxwell landed in Syracuse to start the year because he suffered a monumental slump in spring training, going 5 for 50. With Syracuse hitting coach Jerry Brown, Maxwell emphasized simplifying his approach and went 5 for 15 with five walks to start the year in Class AAA.
"I was thinking about a lot of different things," Maxwell said. "When I'm at my best, I don't think about anything. It was good for me," Maxwell said. "I needed it."
With the Nationals, Maxwell will try to lock down a roster spot. It may not be easy. He is, in effect, replacing Mike Morse, who was originally replaced by Roger Bernadina. Maxwell will have a chance to earn his spot, but when Morse returns, Maxwell may have to return to the minors.
"There's no guarantees," Maxwell said. "Last year's experience, moving up and down, I let it affect the way I play. I just realized that I'm a pro baseball player, and anytime I step between the lines I've got to do my job."
Maxwell has one more trip to make, back to Washington. He isn't sure when Loren will take Liana to her first game, but he's not worried. "I look better in HD, anyway," Maxwell said.
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