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A warm and hearty welcome from the Renaissance Vinoy Resort and Golf Club in sunny St. Petersburg, Fla.

I flew into Tampa, which bills itself either as the City of Champions or the Home of Champions. I raced past the sign in my rental car and thought, "They must not be referring to the Devil Rays."

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You might remember the Rays: Winners of eight of their last 10 games, just took a series from the Yankees, swept the Orioles at Camden Yards last week, moved to within four games of fourth place in the AL East.

And the Orioles get James Shields and Scott Kazmir the first two nights.

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Kurt Birkins makes his first major league start tonight. Radhames Liz makes his third on Wednesday and Garrett Olson makes his seventh on Thursday, when the Orioles return home.

If Olson nibbled between meals as much as he does during his starts, he'd weigh more than Tony Gwynn.

Factor in Jeremy Guthrie tomorrow night, and it's not exactly the rotation that the Orioles envisioned in spring training.

Guthrie now looks like the No. 1 starter, with 14-game loser Daniel Cabrera the No. 2. And it could stay that way with Erik Bedard sidelined indefinitely by a strained oblique.

The updates on Bedard aren't encouraging. I hope to find out more today, and I don't expect the news to be any better.

The minor league affiliates conclude their seasons today, and the Orioles can finalize their list of September call-ups.

This leads me to today's trivia question, and the answer that immediately follows: Which pitcher has the most wins in the farm system?

It's Austrailian left-hander Craig Anderson, with 12 combined victories at Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk. In his last 11 starts with the Tides, Anderson is 6-1 with a 2.36 ERA and only 12 walks in 68 2/3 innings.

Think he's earned a look?

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