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Justin Maxwell sent to Syracuse

The Nationals optioned outfielder Justin Maxwell to Class AAA Syracuse to make room for Saturday starter Matt Chico, dealing another setback Maxwell's burgeoning career.

Maxwell, an Olney native and Maryland alum, started the season in Syracuse and was called up after the season's first week. Maxwell lasted less than a month, being sent back to the minors midseason for the third time in just days more than a calendar year.

"It's frustrating," Maxwell said. "Just imagine you have a job and you keep getting shipped around. That's the only thing I can compare it to. But I'm doing what I love. I'm going to go down there, go play."

The Nationals chose Maxwell, 26, because they believe he needs more playing time than he has been receiving in Washington. The Nationals are facing a run of right-handed pitchers, which more often than not reduces Maxwell to the role of bench player and pinch hitter.

"That's just not his game right now," Riggleman said.

Maxwell spent 22 days in the majors in his latest stint, getting 38 plate appearances in 17 games. Maxwell went just 4 for 26, but he walked 11 times, which gave him a .395 on-base percentage.

"I didn't really get to play as much as I would like to," Maxwell said. "But being here is a blessing. I did what I could do."

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 7, 2010; 10:43 PM ET
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Lucky to have stayed up here this long bottom line Max can't hit major league pitching,Rizzo and Riggs did everything they could to keep him up here but he looks horrible at the plate good glove, good arm, but that's about it,on another note, got a chance to meet Delino DeShields Jr. yep son of the former Expo and Oriole had about 20 scouts at his game this afternoon where he went 3/3 with 2 dingers, well mannered and very courteous and actually sat and talked to me for about 20 minutes after the game, met his mom(she is a killa!) he's got about 60 plus offers and his sister is a star basketball player with about 75 college offers her name is Diamond anyway not a good night for the DC9, we need to take these next two those fish stink. GO NATS!

Posted by: dargregmag | May 7, 2010 11:49 PM | Report abuse

"dealing another setback [to] Maxwell's burgeoning career."
OK, if he's getting set back, how is his career flourishing?

And he's not "wooly"--he's weary. Man, I hate it when people get the words wrong.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 7, 2010 11:53 PM | Report abuse

The only complaint Maxwell can have is "traffic along I-85 is sure getting worse!"
And he should know...that's the only regular base base he'll ever travel.
Man! Talk about an underachiever!!!

Posted by: 1stBaseCoach | May 7, 2010 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Rizzo is going to have to drop 2 or 3 guys off the 40 man roster over the coming weeks, and Maxwell certainly has become a prime candidate for that.
Storen needs a spot, he's on his way for sure.
Detwiler needs a spot, he's likely to be ready before the all-star break.
And eventually JZimmermann will need a spot.

You'd like to think at some point this team will want to see Andrew Kown in the Bigs, but he'd also need a spot.

If Maxwell goes, the others who get dropped will likely have to be pitchers, we need the little depth we have among position players.

Balester is a good candidate since he's pretty likely to clear waivers (oh, and he kinda sucks at pitching). I can't see them dumping Bruney, there's too much cash involved with that.

dargregmag, cool stuff about DeShields. Skilled, well mannered, courteous, hot mom, what's not to love?

Posted by: Sunderland | May 8, 2010 7:00 AM | Report abuse

OK, we know we've got an offensive hole in RF but at least with Willie out there (and if Maxwell returns) we've got stellar defense. But I think I'm beginning to understand the Nats' strategy. Rizzo is going to overturn decades of baseball strategy and make RF a "glove" position and pitcher a hitting position. (Don't laugh: in the deeadball era, 2B was considered a hitting position and 3B a place for a glove man.) We've already got Livo and Stammen in the rotation (and Stammen is a good hitter if not a good bunter: he should have slammed a liner down Cantu's throat in those bunting situations last night). Marquis should come off the DL soon--fine, a great hitter. And I understand we've got a pitching prospect in AAA who's hitting about .400 in his career so far: there's our 4th starter. As for the 5th spot in the rotation, the remaining candidates all hit about as weakly as our RFers, so we might as well let pitching ability be the tiebreaker: let's give it to Olsen. And of course Riggs will trump LaRussa by permanently sticking the RFer in the 9 hole and putting the pitcher at 6 or 7 (depending on whether Nieves is catching).

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | May 8, 2010 7:54 AM | Report abuse

dargramps: Nice info about DdS Jr. Thanks for tossing that our way.

So, Maxwell goes down to create a roster spot for Chico, coming up from HAR to cover Lannan's skipped start. Hm-m-m; I'm a little skittish about this - Chico hasn't been going particularly deep in games, even in AA ball. Riggleman may have to lean on Batista for a 3-4 inning stint tonight.

Posted by: BinM | May 8, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

My only question on this news is why did it take so long? The next time I hope to see JMax is in September.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | May 8, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

CapPete - I like the way you think. Please allow me to take it one step further.

Several of our pitchers who are good hitters are good all around athletes. Stammen and Marquis, at least, could certainly start one day, take a rest day, play right field the next, and then have two days to prepare for their next start!

Posted by: Sunderland | May 8, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Makes sense, but we need an extra bullpen arm as well after Lannan recovers.

Wouldn't mind giving one of these excess starters (Stammen, Chico) a run at that perhaps until Storen comes.

Posted by: CJArlington | May 8, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

This was expected. Have to assume that when they say they want Chico to stay they mean as a possible replacement for Batista who like Maxwell is kept safely hidden from stressful situations.

They haven't treated Bruney as well and he has been looking pretty miserable. Have to figure a trade might be in the offing with Bruney involved.

Walker has the amazing strikeout to walk ratio. He would be staying for now. Burnett is still a bit shaky.

In any case there are lots of possibilities for roster moves.

@Sunderland, you have to think that Detwiler is now behind Chico, Thompson, and Chuck James for that matter. He will have to earn his roster spot, it won't be handed to him.

Posted by: periculum | May 8, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

What is that line from "Pulp Fiction" where Marsellus Wallace is talking to Bruce Willis's character (Butch) and his boxing career? Something like, "You came close. But you never made it. And if you were going to make it, you would have made it before now."

Justin Maxwell needs to have a conversation with Marsellus.

Posted by: noslok | May 8, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Inferred by Ben Geossling: a move to bring up another relief arm from Syracuse? appears in the offing with Chico returning to Harrisburg. Plus Mike Morse before May 18th.

Posted by: periculum | May 8, 2010 7:14 PM | Report abuse


From Bill Ladson at the Gala:

"I'm at the #Nats Gala and I just l learned that the team is calling up left-hander Doug Slaten from Triple-A Syracuse."

He probably is the best left-handed reliever in Syracuse right now. Second to Joel Peralta as far as effectiveness perhaps? Storen hasn't been there long enough and Peralta has 7 saves already.

17 strikeouts against 1 walk for left hander Doug Slaten, WHIP: 0.76 ERA: 0.00 in 11 games and 17 innings of work. He is not on the 40-man roster so a more complicated move will have to be made. Someone is going to be released today or tomorrow?

Posted by: periculum | May 8, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

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