Royals acquire Justin Maxwell from Astros

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FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Royals have picked up outfielder Justin Maxwell from the Astros. The Kansas City Star’s Bob Dutton confirmed the deal, adding that the Astros are getting right-hander Kyle Smith in return.

Maxwell gives the Royals another outfield option with David Lough having cooled off of late. With Lorenzo Cain primarily in center and Alex Gordon in left, Lough, Maxwell and Jarrod Dyson will typically battle for one spot in the lineup. Maxwell will probably play mostly against lefties at the onset.

Maxwell, 29, has hit .241/.311/.387 with two homers in 137 at-bats this season. Last year, he hit .229/.304/.460 with 18 homers in 315 at-bats for the Astros. He’s struggled with injuries his entire career, which has made it difficult for him to establish himself.

The Astros have taken a liking to Brandon Barnes in the outfield, which made Maxwell expendable. They also have top prospect George Springer likely to come up and play center field later this season.

Smith, a 2011 fourth-round pick, was 5-4 with a 2.85 ERA and a 96/29 K/BB ratio in 104 1/3 innings for high-A Wilmington this year. The 20-year-old was rated the Royals’ No. 12 prospect by Baseball America before the start of the season, and he’d probably moved up a few spots since.

Mets release Jenrry Mejia

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The New York Mets have released relief pitcher Jenrry Mejia.

Mejia, you will recall, received a lifetime ban from baseball back in February 2016, following his third failed drug test. Last July Rob Manfred granted his application for reinstatement, effective at the beginning of the 2019 season. By way of rehab, Mejia pitched in five games in the minors late in the season. The Mets, obviously, did not want any part of him going forward, especially considering he’s arbitration eligible. To keep him, they’d have had to add him to their 40-man roster today.

Mejia is 9-14 with a 3.68 ERA in 18 starts and 95 relief appearances, all for the Mets.