Astros activate Justin Maxwell from the disabled list

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Justin Maxwell hit just .128 in 11 games while on a minor-league rehab assignment for a fractured left hand, but the Astros have activated him from the disabled list anyway.

Maxwell has been out for nearly two months and in his absence Brandon Barnes has played well as the Astros’ starting center fielder, so it’ll be interesting to see how manager Bo Porter divvies up the outfield playing time.

Going with J.D. Martinez in left field, Barnes in center field, and Maxwell in right field probably makes the most sense.

Brewers promote David Stearns from GM to president of baseball operations

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It used to be that the top dog in a team’s baseball operations department was the general manager. That has changed over the past several years with some combination of title inflation, a genuine addition of supervisory layers and, on some level, employe poaching insurance leading to the top dog now being called, usually, a “president of baseball operations.”

Brewers’ general manager David Stearns is the latest to assume that tile, as the club just announced that he has been promoted to Milwaukee’s president of baseball operations. He has also received a contract extension of unknown length.

Not a big shock given how well the Brewers did in 2018, winning the NL Central title and playing in the NLCS. It’s also worth noting — with a nod to that “employee poaching insurance” item above — that Stearns has drawn some interest from other organizations. It’s thus not unfair to see the promotion is both a thanks for a job well done and a means of keeping other teams’ hands off of him, as employees are generally not given permission to interview for lateral moves, but are given permission to interview for promotions.

The Mudville Nine may have wanted to steal him from Milwaukee, but for Stearns to get a promotion from where he is now would require the creation of some other lofty title.