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The move couldn't have been more under the radar, a late-August trade of a minor league reliever for a veteran reliever.

In fact, it technically wasn't even a trade. The Orioles dealt lefty Michael Gonzalez to the Rangers, received money from the Rangers to make a waiver claim on hard-throwing reliever Pedro Strop.

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Now, Strop is starting to settle in as the Orioles' eighth-inning guy, pitching another scoreless eighth Thursday in the club's 6-5 win against the Detroit Tigers.

The 26-year-old, a converted shortstop, has pitched in nine games for the Orioles spanning 8 2/3 innings. He hasn't given up a run.

"I feel comfortable because they are giving me the confidence," Strop said. "They are trusting me, and so that's why I feel comfortable. If they are trusting in me, I have to trust in myself."

Strop was at Triple-A most of this year, converting 11 of 13 save opportunities. But he wasn't put in close, late-game situations once he was in the majors for the Rangers. The Orioles are letting him do it. And he has responded.

"I really haven't [gotten] an opportunity to be pitching in those kind of situations, tie games in the major leagues. In the minor leagues, that's usually what I do, pitch in the eighth, ninth innings," Strop said. "So I know what I can do. I feel good about it, but I'm not impressed, because I know what I can do. I just haven't [gotten] the opportunity, and I'm getting it right now and I'm doing my thing."

I asked Strop whether he looked at this September as an audition for 2012, and this is what he said: "I don't like to lose. I like to win. And I'm going to do my best. Next year is next year. You've got to be impressive, and you've got to think now. When the season is over, then you start thinking about what you are going to do whatever next season. For now, I'm just focused on now."

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