ST. PETERSBURG -- The Astros bolstered their outfield for the pennant run Thursday afternoon, claiming veteran Cameron Maybin off waivers from the Angels.
The 30-year-old outfielder is hitting .235/.333/.351 with six home runs and 22 RBIs for the Angels in 93 games this season, while his 29 stolen bases match new teammate Jose Altuve for tops in the American League.
"He's a great athlete," Astros starter Collin McHugh said after Houston's 5-1 win against the Rangers. "We've seen him against us; I think he stole about 14 bases against us in a series. … To have a guy like that -- not only just another veteran presence, but a guy with athleticism and a guy who has been there before -- I think it will be huge."
Manager A.J. Hinch is quite familiar with Maybin from their time together in San Diego, where Hinch was the Padres' VP of pro scouting from September 2010 through August 2014. He played a key role in the Padres' decision to trade for the outfielder in November 2010 and to sign him to a five-year, $25 million extension.
The news of Maybin's claim came down shortly after Hinch had been ejected in the first inning Thursday, allowing the manager to place a call to his newest player.
"I said I got ejected just so I could make the call once we traded for him," Hinch said. "I've got history with Cam; he's a great human, fun guy to be on our team. He's got a ton of speed and can play all three outfield positions. I'll work him in."
The Astros have had what Hinch called "playing-time issues" all season, with more deserving players than available spots in the lineup. With Carlos Correa due back from the disabled list as early as Sunday, Marwin Gonzalez will shift back to an outfield role, joining right fielder George Springer. That leaves Maybin battling Jake Marisnick, Derek Fisher and others for time in the outfield.
"He'll play a little bit of outfield and hit all over the lineup," Hinch said. "He's going to be a great weapon, either starting or on the bench. He'll be on board, he'll do anything I ask, which is the type of makeup you need down the stretch."
Maybin was made expendable earlier in the day when the Angels -- who are 11 1/2 games behind the Astros but only 1 1/2 out of an American League Wild Card spot -- agreed to a deal with the Tigers to acquire four-time All-Star Justin Upton.
"He was pumped," Hinch said of Maybin. "It's rare, first-place team and second-place team, then they made the big move after that. I think it was a little bit of a surprise on both of our parts. He's going to a contender, he's going to a team that expects to play in October. He knows me, so I think he's very comfortable coming over here. He'll fit right in personality-wise in the way he plays, the energy that he'll bring. Houston fans are going to like him."
Maybin is earning $9 million this season, so the Astros will be on the hook for about $1.5 million through the end of the season. He's slated to become a free agent this offseason.
To make room for Maybin on the 40-man roster, the Astros designated right-hander Dayan Diaz for assignment.