MILWAUKEE -- Going from the powerhouse Yankees to the rebuilding Astros has worked out just fine for outfielder Justin Maxwell, who is leading the team in home runs (17) and is ranked second on the club in RBIs (50).

Maxwell, claimed off waivers from the Yankees on April 4, had 260 career plate appearances, but entered Saturday with 339 plate appearances this season alone. The chance to play nearly every day has pleased Maxwell.

"I've been really grateful for the opportunity to play in the big leagues again," he said. "It's going to be neat being on a team during the rebuilding phase. I feel like we've got a lot of exciting, young players for the future. I got to spend time with some of our guys in the Minor League system, and you can tell we're definitely headed in the right direction."

Maxwell, 28, figures to get a chance to get a lot of playing time next year given the unsettled nature of the Astros' outfield situation. Maxwell is capable of playing any of the three outfield positions, and twice this month has played all three in the same game.

"If we all work on what we need to do and focus on getting better, we're definitely going to improve quickly," he said.

Dierker gives keynote speech at PCA awards

MILWAUKEE -- Former Astros pitcher, broadcaster and manager Larry Dierker was the keynote speaker at the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) annual awards banquet at the Houston Club on Saturday morning.

Dierker emphasized parents, in addition to coaches, need to be mindful of how they interact with kids during sporting events, noting that even one isolated incident of an adult unfairly berating a child can have lasting effects on a kid throughout his or her life.

He also encouraged the kids to try their hand at many different sports.

"You never know when one sport, and the skills you learn from it, will help you play another," Dierker said, noting Houston sports stars Hakeem Olajuwon and Jeff Bagwell were star soccer players as high schoolers.

The PCA is a national non-profit organization committed to providing all youth and high school athletes a positive, character-building youth sports experience.

More than 130 student-athletes applied for the Triple-Impact Competitor scholarship and over 26 finalists were selected, all of whom were in attendance at the banquet. Over the previous two years, the Houston chapter of the PCA has awarded $28,000 in collegiate scholarships and gave away another $26,000 this year.

Houston businessman and philanthropist Bobby Tudor was honored as the recipient of the Triple-Impact Professional Award. Local sports radio personality John Granato emceed the event, and former Rockets head coach Jeff Van Gundy also was in attendance.