07/13/12 9:43 PM ET
Quick-healing Maxwell returns to the lineup
By Jeff Fletcher / Special to MLB.com
Maxwell, who was activated from the disabled list prior to Friday's second-half opener against the Giants, made it back quickly because doctors determined there was a non-surgical treatment for the loose bodies in his ankle. He may need surgery eventually, though.
"It depends," Maxwell said. "If I'm totally pain free I may not have it all, but if it comes back and bothers me, we'll address it."
For now, he feels great.
"Before, it hurt every time I swung the bat," he said, "but I didn't feel anything at all during my rehab stint."
The Astros are thrilled to have Maxwell back. The outfielder hit eight homers in just 121 at-bats before he was hurt. He was batting in the No. 3 spot on Friday.
"When he's played he's shown some pop," Astros manager Brad Mills said. "He can do some things for us. He covers a lot of ground in the outfield. Getting a guy like that in the lineup is a definite benefit."
Mills said Maxwell will get some playing time against right-handed pitchers, too. On Friday, he faced Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner.
Downs, Moore to share the load at first base
SAN FRANCISCO -- Just over a week after Carlos Lee was traded, the Astros have a new plan for filling the void at first base in the second half.
Matt Downs, who was in the starting lineup on Friday night against Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner, will start against lefties and Scott Moore against righties, manager Brad Mills said.
"Anytime you get a right-handed hitter and a left-handed hitter in a platoon-type situation, you are going to get the best from both guys," Mills said.
Although neither player is a prototypical first baseman, Mills said he thinks both can handle the job, offensively and defensively.
"Scotty Moore has played there quite a bit at Oklahoma City, and from what I understand he did quite well," Mills said. "Downs played quite a few times the last few years and he does a good job."
Mills said the reason he used Chris Johnson at the position for the first few games after the Lee trade to the Marlins is that he wanted newly acquired Matt Dominguez to stay at third. Dominguez was sent down on Sunday, though, leaving Johnson to go back to third.
Draft deadline passes without any new signings
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Astros did not announce the signings of any Draft picks as the deadline passed on Friday.
The top unsigned pick, seventh-rounder Preston Tucker, could still be signed, though. Because he was a senior at the University of Florida, he is subject to a different deadline, a week before the 2013 Draft next June.
The next highest unsigned pick was 11th-round selection Hunter Virant, a pitcher from Camarillo (Calif.) High. Virant was considered a top prospect, but he slipped in the Draft because of a commitment to UCLA.
The Astros also failed to sign 26th-round pick C.J. Hinojosa, a shortstop from Klein Collins High in Spring, Texas; and 39th-round pick Mitchell Traver, a right-hander from Houston Christian High.
The Astros signed 30 of their 41 Draft picks, including the No. 1 overall pick: shortstop Carlos Correa.
Jeff Fletcher is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.