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09/04/10 8:08 PM ET

Downs officially activated by Astros

PHOENIX -- Matt Downs was already wearing the uniform. Now he can don it on the field.

Downs, who joined the Astros on Wednesday, was officially activated on Saturday before Houston's second of three games opposing the D-backs. The 26-year-old infielder was claimed off waivers from San Francisco on Aug. 25, and as a result of a league rule, needed to spend 10 days in the Minor Leagues prior to his promotion.

Downs, who put in extra work in the batting cages during his hiatus, said he would hope he gets opportunities to prove his mettle in the Astros' final 28 games.

"I'm obviously not going to come in and start and take a position over," he said. "I figure I'll go in late -- pinch-hit, pinch-run -- whatever they want me to do right now."

Manager Brad Mills said he, too, would like the chance to evaluate Downs, who he was impressed with in mid-May. Then a Giant, Downs went 1-for-9 (RBI double) in the clubs' three-game series and played error-free defense at second base.

"He looked really good against us," Mills said. "When [he'll play for us], I'm not exactly sure. How much, I don't know how much that will be available."

Paulino throws well in simulated game

PHOENIX -- Recovering Astros pitcher Felipe Paulino wants to pitch in the Major Leagues once more this season, and after another step forward in his rehab on Saturday, that seems "reasonable" to his manager, Brad Mills.

Paulino completed a 45-pitch, two-inning simulated game without issue against a handful of Houston reserves at Chase Field prior to the Astros' second of three games against the D-backs.

"He threw the ball really well," Mills said. "They weren't squaring the ball up at all."

A decision will be made Sunday as to the next step for Paulino, who has been on the 15-day disabled list due to shoulder tendinitis since June 21. The right-hander was 1-8 with a 4.40 ERA in 14 starts but is amenable to temporarily transitioning into a relief role.

"Right now my focus is -- I don't care if I go back [as a] starter or reliever -- my focus right now is [getting] back on the field and pitching," Paulino said. "I want to show I'm really back. I want to show everybody I'm back. Nobody wants to end the season on the DL."

Worth noting

Astros skipper Brad Mills was stuck with the 11th overall pick in his club's 12-team fantasy football league. Who did he select? Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning. ... Recent callup Brian Bogusevic on his first Major League hit, a pinch-hit double in Friday's seventh inning: "I hit it fairly well. I was just trying to be ready to hit something that was in the zone, and it showed up in the zone. Just take a hack and hope for the best."

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