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Maxwell happy to be in race with Kansas City

Maxwell happy to be in race with Kansas City

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Maxwell happy to be in race with Kansas City

KANSAS CITY -- Outfielder Justin Maxwell is adjusting quickly to life with the Royals.

Maxwell joined the team on the road in Minnesota after being acquired in a trade with the Astros at the Deadline on July 31 -- hitting a go-ahead pinch-hit home run in the 12th inning three days later against the Mets. Through five games with the Royals entering Wednesday, he is 4-for-9 with three runs and three RBIs.

"The trade was unexpected -- I'm a big baseball fan so I follow every league and every division race -- so once I found out I was going to the Royals and we are in the race and trying to make the playoffs, I got even more excited," Maxwell said.

Big entrances have become a habit with Maxwell, who hit a pinch-hit grand slam for his first Major League hit with Washington in 2007 and a pinch-hit homer in his first plate appearance with Houston.

"I think that has to do with coming up in the National League," Maxwell said. "I had the chance to get called up with the Nationals for my first team so I know how to come off the bench and be ready. I know all the double-switches and stuff so when I had that pinch-hit homer, I almost came in the game three different times on double-switches. I know in this game you can't take any days off. It could come down to you and the opposing pitcher to win the game and you always want to give your team your best effort."

Maxwell is batting a combined .253 with 37 hits, 24 runs and 13 RBIs for the Astros and Royals this season. He missed time with the Astros due to a broken hand and then battled food poisoning when he was rehabbing with Double-A Corpus Christi for his hand injury. Maxwell also had a concussion, but said he's feeling healthy now.

Kathleen Gier is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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