Maxwell “grateful” to Nats, “excited” to join Yankees

Former Nationals outfielder and University of Maryland star Justin Maxwell has been traded to the New York Yankees and is thrilled to be able to continue his dream of playing major league baseball. But Maxwell also will miss his former teammates and coaches.

Maxwell found out about the deal only a few minutes before we talked and battled a bad cell connection when he was told. But he was able to make out “trade” and “Yankees”.

“I am pumped up and my family is excited, too,” Maxwell said. “We are thrilled it worked out with spring training coming around soon.”

Maxwell knows he is going to the team with a rich history and one of the most well-known in the history of sports.

“The Yankees are team that has been the best in baseball since the major leagues started,” Maxwell said. “It is good to be a part of such a franchise.”

Maxwell has worked hard in the offseason to recover from ligament damage in his arm after he dove for a catch against the New York Mets late in the season. He had Tommy John ligament replacement surgery at end of last season.

“My arm is almost 100 percent healthy,” Maxwell said. “It gets a little stiff when I am driving for a long time. But once I get into baseball-related activities, it works out perfectly.”

This time of year, Maxwell normally heads to Tampa, Fla., to work out with his agency anyway, so he will head there tomorrow and get a first hand look at Legends Field, the Yankees’ spring training home. Now, when spring training starts, he will just stay there.

Despite the trade, Maxwell still has fond memories of his time with Nationals, the team that gave him his start.

“I am grateful they gave me the opportunity to play major league baseball,” Maxwell said. “I always wanted to play pro baseball and to be able to play for my hometown team was a great experience. I can’t ask for anything more. I enjoyed working with the coaching staffs at every level and I will miss my teammates. I am sad to see it come to an end, especially with the arm injury. But my future is looking bright and I am excited about what is to come.”

Maxwell said he is looking forward to heading to Viera, Fla., this spring when the Yankees take on the Nationals. He expects to be fully recovered by the first day of spring training.

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