8/1/2013 4:55 P.M. ET
Maxwell thrilled to join red-hot Royals
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- Justin Maxwell was heading for Camden Yards from his home near Baltimore on Wednesday, figuring on playing for the Astros against the Orioles. That's when he got the call that he'd been traded to the Royals.
"That was the last thing on my mind. I was thinking of that night's game, so I was definitely really surprised. But I'm really happy to be here," Maxwell said.
Instead of playing for Houston, he flew to Minneapolis and got to Target Field in time to see Greg Holland close out a 4-3 victory over the Twins. On Thursday morning, he was in the clubhouse getting his new uniform (No. 27) and seeing his name in the starting lineup posted on the bulletin board (batting eighth and playing right field).
Maxwell seemed pleased to be joining a red-hot Kansas City club, and he helped keep it hot with an RBI single in his first at-bat of Thursday's 7-2 win that extended the Royals' winning streak to nine.
"Just playing against the Royals, the few times I had a chance, I just looked over in the dugout and saw how much fun those guys were having," Maxwell said. "I'm a baseball fan, so I watch a lot of baseball. I keep in touch with what's going on in the baseball world. I see all the energy this team has, and I'm excited to be part of it."
At 6-foot-5, 220 pounds, befitting his military family background, Maxwell said he was healthy, which wasn't the case earlier this season.
"I had a really rough first half. Broke my hand, had a concussion diving for a ball. So it didn't go the way I planned it when you make goals for the season," he said. "But my goal now is to try to finish strong and help this team win."
While rehabbing with Double-A Corpus Christi for his hand injury, Maxwell was hit with food poisoning.
"It was awful," he said. "One game, I remember I played and I was sick as a dog. I tried to tough it out, tried to get some at-bats, but it definitely wasn't worth it."
Maxwell was asked to provide a scouting report on himself.
"You're only as strong as you think you are, so I think I'm the best player ever. I always tell that to my wife, regardless of what happens," Maxwell said.
"But I play great defense, I pride myself in that. My college coach told me that defense never slumps, so I try to take that into consideration every time I get between the lines. From a hitter's standpoint, I have some pop, and I'm trying to learn to hit for average. But I think the main thing that separates the great players from the average Major League player is consistency, so I'm trying to find consistency within myself, and the only way to do that is to stay on the field."
Maxwell, 29, was obtained in a trade for right-hander Kyle Smith, a 20-year-old Minor Leaguer. Maxwell played for the Nationals before being obtained by the Astros. It's another new beginning for him.
"It kind of feels like Opening Day again," he said.
Getz sent to DL, prompting lineup changes
MINNEAPOLIS -- Faced with a roster crunch, the Royals decided to put second baseman Chris Getz on the 15-day disabled list shortly before Thursday's game against the Twins.
Getz has a left knee sprain, the result of a couple of recent incidents, the latest coming on Saturday when Adam Dunn of the White Sox slid into him at second base. Getz's stay on the disabled list will be backdated to Sunday.
He and center fielder Lorenzo Cain, who is bothered by groin stiffness, were DL possibilities when the Royals obtained outfielder Justin Maxwell in Wednesday's trade with the Astros. But Cain's condition improved faster, so Getz was out.
"He's getting better, but it's still there a little bit. There's still stiffness there," manager Ned Yost said about Getz. "Cain went out and passed all his tests with flying colors, so we changed the lineup and put him in it."
Maxwell originally was in center field in Thursday's lineup, but with Cain cleared, Maxwell was moved to right field and David Lough was dropped from the lineup. That gave the Royals two right-handed bats in the outfield against Twins lefty Scott Diamond.
Cain and Maxwell made their presence felt in the 7-2 win -- Cain made a spectacular catch to rob what would have been a two-run homer and walked three times and scored twice, while Maxwell had an RBI single in his first Royals at-bat.
"I was thinking about maybe sending a pitcher down, but going into a National League series I can't really do that," Yost said. "Getz still feels it a little bit. He's not 100 percent, and it gives him a chance to take a couple more days off and get some more [Minor League] ABs."
The Royals have an Interleague Series this weekend against the Mets in New York.
Getz will join Triple-A Omaha in Tacoma, Wash., on an injury rehabilitation assignment and play some games with the Storm Chasers, who are without second baseman Johnny Giavotella, out with a hip ailment.
Miguel Tejada was back in the Royals' lineup at second base on Thursday with Elliot Johnson available as a backup. Tejada singled and had an RBI groundout.
Butler to be pinch-hitter in NL park
MINNEAPOLIS -- It looks like a weekend of pinch-hitting duties for Billy Butler, as the Royals move to New York for an Interleague Series against the Mets on Friday.
Manager Ned Yost said he plans to play Eric Hosmer, a left-handed hitter, at first base, because the Mets are planning to start three right-handed pitchers -- Dillon Gee, Carlos Torres and Jeremy Hefner.
First base is the alternate position for Butler, a right-handed batter, and is the designated hitter in American League parks.
Butler went 2-for-5 with a two-run single in Thursday's 7-2 win over the Twins.
This will be the Royals' first trip to Citi Field. They played the Mets at the Shea Stadium in 2002, and lost two of the three games.
Perez shows cat-like reflexes behind the plate
MINNEAPOLIS -- Royals catcher Salvador Perez wasn't really surprised by Aaron Hicks' bunt in the Twins' fifth inning on Wednesday night.
"You have to be ready for it every at-bat," Perez said. "Always."
The 6-foot-3, 245-pound Perez wowed everyone by springing from behind the plate, pouncing on Hicks' bunt down the third-base line and nailing him with a laser throw. He moved like a big cat.
"El Gato Grande," he said, laughing.
As good a name as any for the All-Star catcher.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.