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Maxwell played with Astros phenom Springer in Minors

HOUSTON -- No one on the Royals roster knows Astros newcomer George Springer better than outfielder Justin Maxwell.

Maxwell and Springer, who made his Houston debut Wednesday night, played together at times at Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Oklahoma City in the Houston organization the last two years when Maxwell was in the Minors on rehab assignments.

"He's a special talent," Maxwell said. "I got to hit behind him. I was pretty impressed. He's a hard worker. He's got a great approach at the plate. He's got great hand-eye coordination."

People in Houston have heard for three years how great Springer is. Maxwell said Springer lived up to the hype in the Minors.

"He's a great outfielder with a great arm," Maxwell said. "The best part about him is, despite his talent, he continues to work hard."

Maxwell recalled a game with Oklahoma City last year when Springer hit the first two balls he swung at for home runs at Round Rock.

"The first one was a curveball and the second one was a fastball," Maxwell said.

Springer started out as a center fielder in the Houston farm system and was moved to right field this season after the Astros acquired Dexter Fowler in the offseason from Colorado to play center.

"Dexter's a great center fielder," Maxwell said. "He has the history of playing in Coors Field, a big ballpark. He can always run them down. I think eventually George will take over there once they give him a chance to play there every day. He could play all three outfield positions."

Maxwell played mostly center field when he was with the Astros in 2012 and '13. He started Wednesday night's game in right field for the Royals.

He offered some advice to the Royals' pitchers who would face Springer Wednesday and Thursday.

"Just don't leave anything over the middle of the plate," Maxwell told the KC staff. "Anytime you do, he'll hammer it. Stay on the corners and try to keep him off balance and keep the ball down."

Maxwell remembered Tal's Hill in deep center field from his days in Houston.

"I went up on the hill and caught a few balls," Maxwell said. "Once I ran up the hill, caught a ball and ran into the wall and it popped out. I did catch it first, but the wall knocked it out. That wall hardly ever comes into play out there.

"It's a fun place to play," he said of Minute Maid Park. "You don't have to watch the Weather Channel. You know you're going to get your game in."

Gene Duffey is a contributor to
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