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06/16/12 7:09 PM ET

Deep starts helping out Rangers' bullpen

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are working with one less reliever than they're used to, but they might not need their bullpen as much with the way their rotation is working.

Yu Darvish threw eight innings in the Rangers' 6-2 win over the Astros on Friday, giving up two runs and tying a career high with 11 strikeouts while walking just two. That marks the third straight outing he has thrown at least 110 pitches. Joe Nathan threw a scoreless ninth inning to secure the victory.

"It's nice to see them going deep," Nathan said. "Right on down the line, we don't get too much work and guys aren't getting taxed and out there for multiple innings. Usually, the bullpen gets into a nice little rhythm when the starters are going like that."

Colby Lewis and Matt Harrison have also worked deep into games recently. Lewis has thrown 17 innings in his last two starts, including a complete-game four-hitter in his last outing during a 9-1 win over the D-backs on Tuesday.

"It just so happens that it's working out right now," Lewis said. "It's a good thing that we can go out and save arms when we can, especially in the middle of the season, and keep guys fresher if we need them at the back end, especially in August and September."

Harrison has turned in five consecutive quality starts, lasting at least seven innings in each of them. He tossed a five-hit shutout in a 5-0 win over the Giants on June 8.

"That's our job, to get deeper in the game," Harrison said. "We know we're not going to do it every time, but if we can be consistent with it, it definitely saves our bullpen. Hopefully we can keep maintaining it with all the guys on the DL right now. It'd be huge."

Hamilton out of hospital, will work out Sunday

ARLINGTON -- Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton returned home Saturday, a day after he was hospitalized with an intestinal virus.

He was not at Saturday's game against the Astros but is expected to work out at Rangers Ballpark before Sunday's series finale. Hamilton could return in time for Monday's series opener against the Padres in San Diego.

"Tomorrow, he's coming to work. He's coming to punch the clock, but he won't be in the lineup," manager Ron Washington said. "He won't be at the ballpark today, but he'll come in early tomorrow and get some work done. Hopefully he'll be ready to go when we get to San Diego."

The Rangers beat the Astros, 6-2, Friday night without Hamilton in the lineup, reeling off five straight singles during a five-run fifth inning. In 32 career games against the Astros, Hamilton has batted .357 with eight home runs and 26 RBIs.

"We have a lot of talented guys in there," Michael Young said after Friday's victory. "Obviously, we want Josh in there as much as possible. But if anyone's out, we have more than enough depth to go out and have an opportunity to win games. Everyone in this lineup has seen stretches where they haven't played and the team has picked up the slack."

Tateyama optioned, leaving 'pen with six arms

ARLINGTON -- Yoshinori Tateyama was sent to Triple-A Round Rock to make room for Saturday starter Justin Grimm, leaving the Rangers with just six relievers.

"I definitely want to get back to seven relievers as soon as possible," manager Ron Washington said. "When [Josh] Hamilton comes back, we may able to get another one in."

In eight appearances since being called up May 21, Tateyama was 1-0 with an 11.88 ERA, striking out eight and walking three in 8 1/3 innings. Eight of the 13 runs he allowed came during an outing against the Mariners on May 30, when the Rangers suffered their worst loss of the season, 21-8.

"He doesn't hurt himself by walking people," Washington said. "If you want to beat him, you've got to swing the bat. He throws strikes when he takes the ball. We had some unforeseen things happen, so he got optioned."

Grimm, who was 8-3 with a 1.87 ERA at Double-A Frisco, had his contract purchased by the Rangers on Saturday.

"I don't think any player likes being told they're getting optioned or sent down," Washington said. "But he didn't break anything. Everything is in order. He took it like a pro."

Among the other roster moves made official Saturday was Neftali Feliz's move from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list, retroactive to May 19. Feliz, who is suffering from right elbow inflammation, is eligible to return July 18.

Also, Koji Uehara was officially placed on the 15-day DL with a strained right lat muscle, retroactive to Sunday while Leonys Martin's contract was purchased from Triple-A Round Rock. Martin went 0-for-3 on Friday with a walk while batting ninth and playing center field in his first Major League game this season.

"Martin has the spot Grimm was supposed to have," Washington said. "It's procedure."

Pitchers prep for San Diego by taking BP

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have one more Interleague set on the road this season, and it begins Monday against the Padres.

To prepare for the three-game series, a few members of the Rangers' pitching staff took batting practice and ran the bases before Saturday's game against the Astros.

"It's kind of fun when the pitchers get a chance to swing the bats," left-hander Matt Harrison said. "At the same time, we were able to get the feel of what it's like to be on base when guys are hitting and read balls off the bat, that way we can get a little used to it."

Harrison, who is hitless in 14 at-bats, will start Monday's series opener against the Padres. Scott Feldman, a career .133 hitter, will start Tuesday while Yu Darvish will take his first Major League at-bat when he starts Wednesday's finale.

"They need to be able to help themselves," manager Ron Washington said. "If what I'm seeing in the practices is any indication, they're certainly getting better. It's important that they're comfortable."

The Rangers' best hitting pitcher, however, may not hit again until next season.

"Colby [Lewis] drives in runs," Washington said. "Feldman has the best power."

Washington said he would use Lewis as a pinch-hitter if he needed one and was out of position players on the bench. But Lewis, who went 2-for-4 with a two-run single in a 6-1 win over the Astros on May 20, has likely taken his final at-bat of the year.

"I always enjoy hitting," Lewis said. "I think it keeps me more in the game. You're moving around more. I'll have to wait until next year and keep my hit streak alive. It's been three years in a row that I've gotten a hit. I'll look forward to it next year."

Worth noting

• Leonys Martin, whom manager Ron Washington called "our future," on his first Major League game of the season Friday: "It was good ... it's a different game than in Triple-A, but everything's good. I'm very happy." Craig Gentry took over for Martin in center field and batted ninth Saturday.

• Dallas Keuchel will start for the Astros against the Rangers on Sunday in his Major League debut. He is 5-4 with a 4.26 ERA in 13 starts with Triple-A Oklahoma City.

• Washington on Roy Oswalt's progress: "I was impressed with the bullpen. He'll pitch tomorrow and we'll see where it is. He's definitely got to go further than three innings. He's healthy. He looks good. He's just got to get in competitive shape."

• Stony Brook, Joe Nathan's alma mater, fell to UCLA, 9-1, in its College World Series debut Friday and will play an elimination game against Florida State on Sunday. "They've been in tough spots," Nathan said. "Losing that first game in the College World Series is a rough break."

Christian Corona is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.