Maxwell dons No. 44 for Astros

The Astros haven’t had a player wear No. 44 in a regular-season game since Roy Oswalt was traded midway through the 2010 season. That changed Friday night at PNC Park, when Justin Maxwell – wearing No. 44 – started in left field.

Maxwell, acquired on waivers from the Yankees on April 8, was wearing No. 22 but made a deal with bullpen coach Craig Bjornson to take his No. 44, effective Friday. Bjornson, who always wears a pullover that hides his number anyway, switched to 50.

“It’s just the number I usually wear in the Minors and it’s the first time I get to wear it in the big leagues,” Maxwell said. “I asked Craig Bjornson if I could have the number and he said, ‘Sure.’ I kind of threw it out there instead of just attacking him.”

When Maxwell joined the Astros, he asked equipment manager Carl Schneider if he could have 44, but it wasn’t available. Maxwell decided to wait a month before asking Bjornson.

“I didn’t want to come in here and say, ‘Hey guys, how’s it going? Can I have your number?’” joked Maxwell, who said he’s going to give Bjornson something in return.

Oswalt, arguably the greatest pitcher in franchise history, wore No. 44 from 2001-10. Pitcher Sergio Escalona wore the number last year in Spring Training, but switched to 52 in the regular season.

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