Birkins was selected off waivers by Tampa Bay in October 2007. He looked strong in six appearances for the Rays at the beginning of the 2008 season. Birkins had a 0.90 ERA in 10 innings before being sent back to the Triple-A Durham Bulls. In 31 games for the Bulls, however, Birkins struggled to repeat those impressive numbers. He was 2-3 with a 7.52 ERA and walked 28 hitters in 40 2/3 innings.